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The New A8: Audi’s Addition to the Autonomous Car Market

The next generation Audi A8 is all set to become the first fully autonomous car when it goes on sale in 2017 – and the technology will be picked up by the new A7, A6 and Q8 when they are launched in a later date. The fully autonomous function, disclosed to be known as Traffic Jam Assist, will run at up to 60km/h (about 37mph) in congested highway traffic and – unlike any system available right now – fully control the car without the need for input or monitoring from the driver.

Moreover, a separate Park Assist function will be available and will park the vehicle automatically even with the driver not inside the car, as long as he controls it using an app on his smartphone. A few car manufacturers offer comparable capabilities – BMW provides a remote-parking function in non-U.S. 7-series, and Tesla just added the ability to its cars, including in America. The soon-to-be-released A8 will follow the lead of the current A6, A7, and A8 by permitting drivers to take their hands off the wheel at highway speeds for longer periods of time before apprising them to retake control.

New Features

The next Audi A8 will employ more aluminium in its construction compared to the releases before, as well as components built from magnesium and carbonfibre. However, it is still possible that it will add several kilos owing to the autonomous technology and a designed hybrid powertrain. The new 2017 Audi A8 is reported to be launched this summer, with sales beginning by the autumn. The German brand’s flagship A8 saloon is extremely famous for its lightweight construction – but engineers concede that giving in to customer demands is probably to result in a small gain in kerbweight for the new version. The car’s bare metal construction is approximately 50kg heavier than the structure of the A8 now.

The soon to be released Audi A8 will also have the Traffic Jam Pilot, which makes use of a central driver assistance controller, or zFAS, with NVIDIA hardware and software. This system will give drivers the choice to turn over steering, throttle, and braking functionality to the vehicle at speeds of up to 35 mph when specific conditions are satisfied, Audi officials have disclosed. At the essence of the software are deep neural networks specifically meant for autonomous driving and identification of changing traffic control signals. The car first developed limited familiarity with the road and environment with a human driver behind the wheel, by means observation and the inclusions of training cameras – this produced a correlation between the driver’s reactions and what the cameras themselves observed.