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.