It seems like every major luxury automaker is now in a rush to get autonomous driving technology to the market as soon as possible. Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti have both implemented the technology on their vehicles and next up is Audi, who revealed to Motoring.au its next-generation A8 full-size sedan will be able to drive itself.
Audi’s Head of Product and Technology Communications, Stefan Moser, told Motoring their autonomous driving tech will drive “better than most humans.” The German automaker recently brought an RS7 concept car equipped with its self-driving technology to the Hockenheim Ring in Germany, where the car lapped the track at speed with no driver at the wheel. That feat was accomplished using extremely accurate GPS data and a 3D camera system, but the production autonomous tech will be much more complex, Audi says.
The Hockenheim lap showed everyone the car can drive itself around a cleared track on a sunny day, but when pedestrians, traffic, weather and other hazards are thrown into the mix, autonomous driving becomes a more far-fetched prospect. That’s why the production A8 will use a mixture of sensors and laser guided systems that will still work in extreme weather conditions such as fog or snow to navigate public roads.
“The camera system is not able to always do everything. We have also lasers, we will have more sensors too. With a laser you can see in fog, for instance,” Moser explained.
“It has to work everywhere,” he added.
Audi will reportedly preview the styling of the next-generation A8 next month at the Los Angeles Auto show before the production version is shown sometime in 2016. The car is expected to go on sale in 2017, complete with Audi’s new self-driving system.