Currently reading: Audi A8 to beat Mercedes-Benz S-Class as first fully autonomous car
Next-generation model of Audi’s flagship saloon will be capable of Level 3 autonomy when it goes on sale later this year

The next-generation Audi A8 will be the most advanced autonomous car in production when it goes on sale later this year.

Claimed to offer Level 3 autonomy – also known as ‘conditional automation’ - drivers will be able to relinquish full control to the car, marking the first time this will be offered with a series production model. The system will work at speeds of up to 37mph on roads that have physical separations (such as a barrier) between both sides of traffic.

In this mode, the driver can focus on other tasks such as reading, but they must remain alert because the car can request they retake control with an eight to ten second warning, should the traffic situation require human input.

The A8’s driverless functions will be more advanced than even the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class’s, which itself will offer Level 2 autonomy – also known as partial automation. Level 2 allows a driver to take their hands and feet off the controls but requires them to continue looking at the road ahead.

Tesla is building its cars with hardware capable of full autonomy, but is yet to issue the accompanying software.

Speaking at Audi’s annual press conference, CEO Rupert Stadler said only government legislation would prevent the A8 from running in fully autonomous modes in public. However, European governments are looking to change legislation to enable the use of driverless technology.

The British government is also understood to be drafting new legislation in this area, as it wants to place Britain at the forefront of autonomous car development. A new vehicle test centre is planned, as outlined in the Government's 2017 Industrial Strategy report.


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eseaton 25 April 2017

This subject should be

This subject should be shaking the very core of Autocar, but I have really no idea what their opinion is on the subject one way or the other. To be honest I usually find readers comments far more interesting than the articles themselves. Feeble journalism.
HHX621 25 April 2017

Level 5

Volvo is skipping level 3.
winniethewoo 25 April 2017

What level is a fully autonomous are? Level 5?

Glad to see this incremental progress. It seems much more representative of what current autonomous tech is capable of than the claims Tesla are making for autopilot. I was reading a review somewhere an Isreali company that developed autopilot warned Tesla that the level of autonomy given to it was over reaching its capabilities and setting it up for tragedy. Personally I can't wait for fully autonomous cars to arrive. I reckon 90% of my driving is a chore and would happily give control over to the car. Even google cars and autopilot have accident rates way below average and that's good enough for me.
HHX621 25 April 2017


Book of law say's it's level 5.