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Frankfurt 2017: Audi’s All About Autonomous Driving This Year

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Frankfurt 2017: Audi’s All About Autonomous Driving This Year

This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show all set to open its doors in just a couple of days and the stage has been set for all the participating manufacturers to strut their stuff.

And speaking of showing off their stuff, Audi has announced that it is going to showcase its autonomous driving technology in all its glory this year – in the forms of the new A8 and two concept cars which will also be demonstrating the brand’s AI technology.

The new A8, which is the world’s first volume-production car to be designed for conditional automated driving at level 3 in accordance with international standards, features the Audi AI traffic jam pilot which is capable of taking over the driving task in slow-moving traffic up to 60 km/h.

The system handles starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane, and if the driver has activated the traffic jam pilot at the AI button on the center console, they can take their foot off the accelerator and their hands off the steering wheel for longer periods.

And then we have two concepts that are much more advanced than the A8. The first is a two-door SUV (autonomous driving level 4) based on the Audi e-tron Sportback concept, which adopts Audi’s intelligent technologies which reduce the driver’s workload and open up many opportunities for spending time in the car pleasantly and usefully.

The SUV coupé, which uses Audi’s next-generation AI system, is actually capable of taking over the driving task at speeds up to 130 km/h and even change lane automatically.

Last but not the least, the second Audi concept car headed for the IAA, which is also the most advanced among the three, is a full-sized sedan (autonomous driving level 5) which offers its occupants entirely new freedoms where they no longer have to concentrate on road traffic. Designed primarily for long journeys, the concept is powered by four electric motors which give it and a range between 700 and 800 kilometers. 

In case you're wondering what the different levels of autonomous driving mean: 

  • Level 0: Driver controls everything.
  • Level 1: Most functions are still controlled by the driver but a specific function (like steering or accelerating) is controlled by the car.
  • Level 2: Driver is disengaged from physically operating the vehicle but must always be ready to take control of the vehicle.
  • Level 3: Drivers are still necessary in level 3 cars, but are able to completely shift "safety-critical functions" to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions. 
  • Level 4: Vehicles performs all safety-critical driving functions and monitors roadway conditions for an entire trip, but not under all conditions.
  • Level 5: Fully-autonomous system that expects the vehicle's performance to equal that of a human driver, in every driving scenario.

That being said, the folks from Ingolstadt will also be revealing the new RS4 Avant and a new rear-wheel-driven Audi Sport model in addition to the models mentioned above at this year's show. 

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