Audi is getting serious about bringing autonomous vehicles to the roads. The luxury automaker has laid out its plans for a future of self-driving cars using a host of technologies that the company says are within its reach and, as a result, within the reach of consumers.
During its press event here at CES 2013, Audi revealed that it has become the first automaker to receive a license to drive autonomous vehicles in Nevada, and that it had already done so on highways. Audi also showed the vehicle entering a parking garage and finding and maneuvering into a parking spot without human intervention.
Audi also showed off a new computer board that can handle all of the calculations and processes required to see a car pilot itself. The board is a rather impressive advancement, especially considering that the previous computers needed to perform the calculations were massive, unwieldy units that took up large amounts of space under a vehicle's dashboard and inside of the trunk.
And while the initiative has all the makings of a self-driving program, Audi has chosen to refer to it as a piloted driving program. The company's reasoning is based on the program's mantra: "Whenever I don't want to drive, I allow myself to be driven. When I want to have fun, I drive myself."
Audi is the second automaker to show off their autonomous vehicle initiative here at CES, following Lexus' unveiling of its Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle. Unlike Audi, Lexus views its system as a means to eliminate accident fatalities, rather than a way to let the driver relax while their car chauffeurs them around town when they need a break.
Stay tuned for our in-person demonstration of Audi's technology later today.