News - Audi
Fully autonomous cars will not arrive by 2020: Audi
Self-driven: Audi will debut new autonomous technologies in its next-generation A8 large luxury limo that will see it capable of self-driving while occupants remain on standby.
Despite current technologies, Audi says self-driving cars will not be ready by 2020
13 March 2017
AUDI’S fully autonomous vehicles will not be ready for market until after 2020
– the deadline set by many leading car-makers – but the German prestige brand
is continuing to roll out increasingly advanced driver-assist technology in
product offerings including the incoming A8 flagship sedan.
Speaking to GoAuto at the Geneva motor show last week, Audi chairman of the
board of management Rupert Stadler said development of self-driving technology
was continuing apace but that production of fully autonomous cars was still
several years away.
“We will see it first of all, with different levels of autonomous driving,” he
said. “Today, everybody who has some certain driver assistance systems is
operating on level two. So officially, we are not allowed to take your hands
(off the steering wheel).”
Mr Stadler said the upcoming new-generation A8 – the brand’s technological
flagship passenger car – will feature the most advanced self-driving technology
brought to market from Audi.
“So with the eight (incoming A8), we will have the technology, which is
programmed that you can take off your hands,” he said. “You get some signals
where you’re within some seconds, you have to take command once again.”
According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), level-one vehicles are
defined as cars with driver assistance systems including stability and cruise
control, while level two adds more systems working in conjunction with one
another, such as adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
Level-three vehicles, which will include the next A8, will be able to control
all major functions including steering, acceleration and braking, but still
requires drivers to be alert and on standby to retake control.
Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving system also makes its Model S and Model X
all-electric vehicles fall under level-three classification.
“And then of course, the level four would be still a car with steering wheel,
brake pedals, and gas pedals, but maybe it’s a different environment, so you
can really relax,” Mr Stadler said. “Maybe if the steering wheel moves away,
but it’s still on-board.
“And level five is, let’s call it, a ‘robo-taxi’. There is no brake or no gas
or no steering wheel, because it is full autonomous driving which is level
Mr Stadler said the complications in the technologies were not with the
self-driving hardware – which often utilise a combination of cameras, radar,
lidar, GPS and cloud-based computing and communication – but with the software
governing the vehicles and making decisions on the fly.
“Believe me, we see now the complexity of software engineering with
centrifusion, with camera laser technology, which has to come together on the
A8,” he said. “It is highly complex and I can imagine today, with the
experience of the last two years, what could require level four and what will
require level five.
“We are working on that technology. Within the Volkswagen Group, we took the
responsibility to develop level-five technology.
“We founded a company which is called Artificial Intelligence Driving. We will
staff now the team with software engineers and whatever is needed and then it’s
… of course.
“Maybe it will be behind 2020.”