From the show debut of its new flagship limousine to the two exciting self-driving concept cars, it was all about highlighting Audi’s progress in the field of autonomous driving... According to SAE International standards, autonomous driving capabilities are graded from 0 for total human control, to 5 for a fully-autonomous system that equals a human driver in any kind of situation. While levels 0, 1 and 2, represent the state of the art, Audi is breaking new grounds in the higher levels of autonomous driving, starting with the premiere of the new Audi A8. Learn more about the different levels here.
LEVEL 3: Conditional automated driving as standard with the Audi A8
The all-new Audi A8 takes pride of place as the world’s first volume-production car to be designed for level 3 autonomous driving, or what’s known as “conditional self-driving”. The car debuts the Audi AI traffic jam pilot, where on highways and multi-lane motorways with a physical barrier separating the two directions of traffic, the system takes over the driving task in slow-moving traffic up to 60 km/h where local laws permit.
Audi AI traffic jam pilot handles starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane. If the driver has activated the traffic jam pilot at the AI button on the centre console, they can take their foot off the accelerator and their hands off the steering wheel for longer periods. Unlike at level 2, they no longer need to monitor the car permanently and instead can spend their time watching their favourite TV shows, catching up with loved ones over a video call, or any other activity – drastically making life easier and more enjoyable.
The Audi AI traffic jam pilot is the result of the pioneering development work by Audi. The central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which generates an image of the surroundings while driving by fusing sensor data. At the same time, a second data fusion takes place in the radar control unit. Meanwhile, the laser scanner provides detailed information on vehicles cutting in and on the roadside peripheral structures.
Production of the new A8 featuring the traffic jam pilot is set to start incrementally, as countries gradually adapt to the new technology.
LEVEL 4: Audi Elaine concept car, a highly-automated concept with new technology
As a further development of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept, the Audi Elaine concept car features new intelligent technologies that reduces the driver’s responsibilities to give him or her more time to do what they like inside the vehicle. This can take the form of working on a presentation for work or interacting with one of the many apps in the infotainment system.
These systems are enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. They are networked seamlessly with the cloud and with other vehicles (car-to-X technology) – giving them the capability to learn and think in a proactive and empathetic way. Thanks to these systems, the driver gains more time, more safety, more efficiency and more customization.
For highly automated driving at level 4 the SUV coupé uses a next-generation zFAS. It provides information for the highway pilot which can take over the driving task at speeds up to 130 km/h and automatically change lane.
With its Sportback-inspired dynamic lines, progressive lighting technology, elegant interior and the electric quattro drive with three electric motors and a combined peak output of 370 kW, the realization of the concept into a production reality is something to look forward to.
LEVEL 5: Audi Aicon concept car, a fully autonomous concept racing into the future
The Audi Aicon showcases every possibility offered by a fully autonomous luxury sedan in the future. With no steering wheel or pedals, the four-door 2+2 boldly leaps ahead to show the groundbreaking exterior and interior design of the next decades.
The level 5 concept car also combines innovations relating to the drivetrain, suspension, digitalization and sustainability in a visionary manner, giving a peek into the world of tomorrow where the advantages of door-to-door individual transportation are combined with the luxurious ambiance of a first-class airline cabin.
Designed primarily for long journeys, the all-electric concept has an unprecedented range between 700 and 800 kilometers on a single charge, and offers its occupants entirely new freedoms where they no longer need to concentrate on road traffic.
The show car also combines new features in the areas of connectivity, communication and operation designed to make traveling extremely comfortable. Thanks to Audi AI these systems are intelligent and forward-thinking.
The Aicon will be followed by further multitalented Audi models, each with their own specialized discipline, ensuring that the vehicle range of the brand with the four rings remains as diverse as it is fascinating.