Audi is pressing forward with the development of piloted driving. The German carmaker was the first carmaker to conduct a public test on an expressway in Florida, US.
“Audi already offers a host of powerful driver assistance systems,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development. “New systems will follow in the near future where we’ll be talking about ‘piloted driving.’ These will assist drivers when they are overstretched in complex situations or unchallenged in monotonous situations, and thus fail to respond optimally to the traffic on the road. The new piloted driving systems can substantially improve road safety and further increase driving comfort.”
The new driver assistance systems that will be used in volume production also include the congestion pilot. In slow-moving traffic up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) it relieves the driver of the task of driving while the system automatically accelerates, brakes and steers the vehicle. It reacts cooperatively to other vehicles. Once the traffic jam disperses or the end of the highway has been reached, the driver is prompted to take back control. If the driver fails to respond, the system safely brings the car to a standstill.
The public trial in Florida during which Audi presented the congestion pilot was held on a stretch of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway near Tampa. This makes Audi the world’s first carmaker to drive with a piloted car on a public road in Florida. Journalists and politicians managed to take a look for themselves on site at the maturity of the technology used in the system.
22 sensors, including an innovative laser scanner, are active in the test car, an Audi A7 Sportback*. The central driver assistance control unit (zFAS) processes the data recorded with the sensors. This high-performance unit continually builds up a complete picture of the vehicle surroundings using the sensor data. Thanks to its power and compact dimensions – comparable to a tablet computer – the zFAS represents an important step on the way to the volume-production launch of the congestion pilot.