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Audi Piloted Driving

More relaxed and safer driving in road traffic with fewer traffic jams and less environmental pollution. Piloted driving is a key development area at Audi, because of the many types of benefits it offers. The results of over 15 years of ongoing research and testing is now continually flowing into production development.

Preliminary work completed

 

Today, Audi has already succeeded in efficiently and intelligently networking the complex technology of piloted driving. It has done so in a way that takes hardly any extra space in the car, does not add weight and barely uses any more energy. In striving to make the vision of piloted driving a reality, Audi has been testing the technology for a full 15 years at various locations – including the race track, which is the toughest test laboratory.

Driverless to the limit: the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept

 

In October 2014, the brand with the four rings proved that piloted driving can even be extended driving at the limit. The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept completed a lap of the Grand Prix course in Hockenheim without a driver at race speed. To ensure precise orientation on the course with centimetre accuracy, the vehicle made use of specially conditioned GPS data, which is transmitted to the car via the WLAN automotive standard as well as redundantly via high-frequency radio. Simultaneously, 3D cameras monitored the course by video. A computational program compares the information from the images to a data set that is stored in the vehicle.

Die Fahrt des RS 7 piloted driving concept

From the race track to series production

 

Audi engineers have gained valuable knowledge from test drives that test to physical limits, including findings that are useful in developing automatic evasive manoeuvring functions in critical driving situations – which is an important prerequisite for piloted driving and greater safety in road traffic. Today, Audi already offers driver assistance systems that make driving more relaxed and superior. They range from Audi side assist to Audi active lane assist and finally adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function including audi pre sense front.

Audi TTS Pikes Peak

Successes achieved so far in piloted driving

Back in 2009, Audi was the first carmaker to test piloted driving – in the desert. The Audi TT S set a new piloted driving speed record of 210 km/h at the Bonneville salt flats. One year later, the vehicle – once again without a driver – raced up the legendary mountain race course at Pikes Peak in Colorado, reaching the summit in just 27 minutes. In 2013, Audi was the first carmaker to be issued a licence to test autonomous vehicles in the state of Nevada, USA. In the same year, the company revealed its vision of piloted driving for traffic jams and parking. In the future, drivers will be able to operate their cars externally via remote control key or smartphone in front of a garage or a tight parking space.

 
Central driver assistance control unit (zFAS)

Central driver assistance control unit (zFAS)

Audi is continually extending its lead by “Vorsprung durch Technik” and is already implementing advanced production-ready technology today. Instead of following the usual method of installing separate control units for individual driver assistance systems in different places in the vehicle, Audi will be centralizing them in the future. The central driver assistance control unit will, for the first time, make it possible to merge all available sensor information in a very compact space. Currently, the zFAS is no larger than a laptop, and its size will be further reduced in the further development process. This means that redundantly computed environmental information is now available to all driver assistance systems. The benefits are immeasurable, especially for piloted driving.