First, Google got permission to loose autonomous cars on an unsuspecting Nevada public, and now Audi has become the first automaker to be granted the same license.
According to a press release from Audi, the German auto manufacturer has been working on autonomous vehicles for quite some time. In 2010, an autonomous Audi TTS climbed Pikes Peak’s 156 turns and 12.42 miles in 27 minutes.
Today, Audi said it is seeking to make automobile autonomy similar to jetliner autopilot systems, where a driver can take back control whenever needed. Quoting the release:
“Today, Audi defines autonomous driving capabilities in terms of piloted parking and piloted driving. The term ‘piloted’ is used advisedly, as Audi envisions motorists enjoying the convenience of allowing the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, for example, while still being able to take control of the car when needed. In this way, the technology is similar to auto-pilot systems found on jetliners. Likewise, autonomous, or piloted parking, would let future Audi models park safely without a driver at the wheel in in tight parking spaces.”
One might wonder whether an Audi operating autonomously would honk its horn at the fully driver-piloted BMW that cuts it off in said stop-and-go traffic.
Audi did not disclose in the press release which of its models might be receiving more autonomous driving features, though the company promised to reveal more about its piloted parking and piloted driving strategies at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where our man Terry A. Miller has been dispatched. Look for more details as we get them.