The next generation of Audi’s flagship A8 limousine will “drive better than most human beings,” according to a company executive.
Stefan Moser, Audi Head of Product and Technology Communications, told Motoring.com.au the upcoming A8 – due in 2017 – would be available as a fully autonomous, self-driving vehicle.
"If we have a proper system it will always be better than human beings," he said. "They are not phoning, not looking at pretty girls, no distractions."
Branding itself a pioneer of automotive technology, Audi is keen to be the first to market with a fully-operational autonomous car, though is facing strong competition both from rival car manufacturers and also technology companies such as Internet giant Google.
Audi has already proved that it can create a self-driving car, by sensationally letting its potent RS7 model loose around an F1 track by itself. The brand says it’s now a case of waiting for legislation to catch up with developments in technology.
In Audi’s home country of Germany, autonomous car technology is only allowed to work for around 10 seconds at a time, so that drivers do not become reliant on it and divert their attention from the road. However, the rules are soon likely to be relaxed, in line with other countries.
Moser went on to explain how a complicated system of cameras and laser sensors would allow the A8 to detect the world around it, and drive autonomously.
"The camera system is not able to always do everything. We have also lasers, we will have more sensors too. With a laser you can see in fog, for instance," he said.
"It must work everywhere.”
Moser remained confident that the technology would not be introduced at a price point that would put it out of reach of most customers, stating that the technology would not add a significant premium to the car. However, as the A8 is Audi’s top-end limousine, many simply won’t be able to sample the technology until it filters down through to less expensive models.
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