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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Audi A8

The Audi A8 is a highly capable and desirable luxury saloon that's very easy to live with, despite its flaws

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Comments
15

24 April 2017
Audi BS alert, it's nothing more than advanced cruise control with the added stress of letting go of the wheel tied in.
This Autonomy BS should be banned until a car is available that can drive across London and park itself, until then 'autonomy' can park itself up it's own A***

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

24 April 2017
Hey, I'm not too worried about this. Technology has demonstrated that, over the last few years, everything electronic is totally reliable so we've nothing to worry about. Ok, alarm systems can be a bit dodgy. And engine management lights, well, they come on for fun. ipads and mobile phones? Well they're not that reliable I suppose. But what about sat navs? They're always relia.... no, they're not either. Computers?? Hmmm... Oh well, when you've crashed into the back of a bin lorry just switch it off, count to ten and then re-start! If you're still alive, of course.

24 April 2017
I understand what you are saying but over 95% of current accidents are caused by just appalling levels of basic vehicle control! I'd much rather share the roads with a load of autonomous cars for the masses and highly skilled Autocar reader actual drivers....

 

 

 

24 April 2017
No doubt but it's going to be a long time before I'd trust this technology. The number of cars being sent for scrap now because of failing electronics is horrifying. Cars rarely rot nowadays and mechanical units are much more reliable but they're still off to the bone yard after eight years. If those levels of reliability are inherent in autonomous cars God help us.

24 April 2017
No doubt but it's going to be a long time before I'd trust this technology. The number of cars being sent for scrap now because of failing electronics is horrifying. Cars rarely rot nowadays and mechanical units are much more reliable but they're still off to the bone yard after eight years. If those levels of reliability are inherent in autonomous cars God help us.

24 April 2017
Better to be late to the market without any bugs.
Steam cars are due a revival.

24 April 2017
And that's a perfect example of this. You just catch the 'reply' button twice in quick succession and your post comes up twice. Electronics; the bane of my life :-(

24 April 2017
Not the slightest bit interested in this crap. I'd pay to have it removed.

24 April 2017
Who actually is asking for this stuff? The same people who are begging Steinway for a playerless piano?

24 April 2017
Level 3 autonomy! Audi really has trounced the opposition with this world beating technology. This is an advance we've all been waiting for and it will surely have car enthusiasts drooling. And once we reach full autonomy, we'll, life will be complete. And then Autocar can be rebranded as Autonomouscar.

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