Audi takes lead in automated driving

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Audi, the German carmaker, is taking a lead in transporting more programmed driving to streets, but contenders appear in no rush to follow while regulatory and legal uncertainties still blur the technology.

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Audi paraded the A8 at the Frankfurt car show. The A8 can drive itself below particular conditions, make a decision to shift lanes, and does not need drivers to observe the road, even though they should be ready to interfere at the sound of an alarm. On a scale where 0 is a completely manual car and 5 a completely autonomous car, the A8 is a stage 3, putting it in front of level 2 features provided by General Motors (GM) and Tesla.

Grappling to come up from the shade of diesel emissions scandal of parent Volkswagen, Audi is extremely in need of a marketing coup and an innovative prestige model. “It’s rewarding that we are capable of setting an optimistic symbol for real—Vorsprung durch Technik,” claimed Peter Mertens, chief of research and development, to the media in an interview referring to advertising slogan of Audi translating as “advancement through technology.”

But with special endorsement still needed almost all over the place to drive this kind of car, and queries over how fatly the driver has to take the control back, and who is accountable at the time of handover, some opponents are doubtful that the market is geared up. “Who will be ready to pay for something that they might use only in very limited circumstances?” asked European chairman of Japanese carmaker Toyota, Didier Leroy, to the media in an interview.

“The fact that Audi is rolling out this one now does not mean that we will hurry in the approaching months to claim that we are capable of doing it as well. That is not our judgment,” he claimed at the car show to the media. Amid the new features of A8 is the “traffic jam pilot”, which can fully handle driving at almost 60 Kilometers (almost 37 Miles) each hour on a separated highway. The German firm anticipates users will be capable of using self-driving functions of all models by the next year or in 2019.

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