Is Audi the 1st car manufacturer to launch a self-driving car?


Published on July 20th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Is Audi the 1st car manufacturer to launch a self-driving car?

Audi believes it will be the first automaker to launch a self-driving car even though its first model with that capability, the new A8, still needs to undergo lengthy government approvals that could allow a competitor to pass the automaker in the race to market.

Audi said that with its forthcoming Traffic Jam Pilot, the A8 will be the first production car with Level 3 autonomy. That means under specific conditions those A8s can be put in autopilot, allowing the driver to take his eyes off the road.

All other current production vehicles, including those from Tesla or Mercedes-Benz, offer Level 2 autonomy, which provides assistance but requires near constant interaction from the driver.

Level 3 autonomy, however, is still in its infancy. That is why Audi hasn’t announced when Traffic Jam Pilot will debut and why BMW only plans to offer the same level of autonomous technology in 2021, with the debut of the iNEXT.

Audi and type approval regulators need to resolve how to properly regulate how the technology should function in everyday conditions.

That potential gray area is one reason several carmakers are reluctant to offer the Level 3’s limited autonomy. Volvo, Toyota and Ford say they will leapfrog Level 3 and concentrate on reaching the most automated stages, Levels 4 and 5.

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