Audi is showing what self-driving luxury looks like. The new Audi A8 has many self-driving features and advanced driving assistance featuures, while the company is inviting “drivers” to test drive the self-driving Audi A7, “Jack” on the A9. One could say that Audi gets all “A’s” for autonomous, artificial intelligence, AI, assistance, “adaptable” suspension and ambient lighting.
The new Audi A8 fourth generation, flagship model is a new design with an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. Audi also claims that the Audi A8 is also the first production automobile developed especially for highly automated driving., Audi plans to increased self driving including parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production, starting in 2018.
The design is balances with muscular shapes has different day and night light wardrobes defined by HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights. These produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car.
Intelligent Conversations Audi 8 & Control at Fingertips
The news center stack does away with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely clear of buttons and switches. At its center is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look.
The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The driver controls the Infotainment system with fingertip control on the large display. They can use a second touchscreen display on the center tunnel console to access the air conditioning and comfort functions as well as make text inputs. When the driver activates a function in the upper or lower display, they hear and feel a click by way of confirmation. The glass-look operating buttons respond in the same way. The combination of acoustic and tactile feedback along with the use of common touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response especially safe, intuitive and quick to use.
The A8 can also engage in intelligent conversation. The driver can activate an array of functions in the automobile using a new, natural form of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The extensive Audi connect range also includes traffic sign recognition and hazard information – innovative car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet.
The extensively optimized navigation is another new feature: It is self-learning, based on the route just driven. This provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions. The map also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.
Drives in Traffic Jams
The new A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the center console.
The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving.
During piloted driving, a central driver assistance controller (zFAS) now permanently computes an image of the surroundings by merging the sensor data. As well as the radar sensors, a front camera and the ultrasonic sensors, Audi is the first car manufacturer also to use a laser scanner.
Remote Valet Parking
The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the maneuver is monitored by the driver. The driver need not be sitting in the car. They start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. To monitor the parking maneuver, they hold the Audi AI button pressed to watch a live display from the car’s 360 degree cameras on their device.
Audi AI active suspension, is a fully active suspension system. Depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. This flexibility imparts the driving characteristic with huge latitude – ranging from the smooth ride comfort of a classic luxury sedan to the dynamism of a sports car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is raised with lighting speed if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.
This highly innovative suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical system. Audi now for the first time fits it as the primary electrical system in all model versions of the A8. In conjunction with the advanced air suspension for the A8, the innovative suspension concept delivers an utterly new driving experience.
Luxury in the Back Seat
The most comfortable seat in the new Audi flagship model is in the rear right – the optional relaxation seat in the A8 L that comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The new comfort head restraints complete the experience. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote, with its OLED display as large as a smartphone, is a removable unit housed in the center armrest.
Self-Driving Audi A7 Hits the Road: “Jack” for Select Testers in Germany
Meanwhile in Germany, Audi is offering self-driving demos in Audi A7 driving on the A9 in July and August north which averages to the A8.
Potential test drivers are found through social media sites run by Audi Germany. Audi Business Innovation GmbH so raffled places to users of its premium mobility service Audi on demand. Participants in the “Miles and More” program can also swap accumulated miles for a trip in “Jack.”
On the A9 the Audi A7 can drive at speeds up to 130 km/h (80.8 mph). It accelerates, brakes and changes lane predictively and smoothly while cooperating with other road users.
The experience from the test drives with “Jack” has been incorporated into the development of piloted driving. The central driver assistance controller (zFAS) uses signals from all the sensors to continuously generates a detailed image of the surroundings. The zFAS is fitted for the first time as standard in the new Audi A8.
If you would like to see what the Audi A8 looks like on the road, it made its debut in “Spider Man Homecoming”