The new Audi A7, a self-piloted car intended to face everyday traffic situations and make smart decisions within them, has successfully completed a 550-mile drive from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas.
The prototype–known as “Jack”–uses sensors, internal radar, several cameras, real-time GPS, and a laser scanner mounted to the grill to make intelligent decisions while driving itself. The goal, say Audi engineers, is to make the road a safer place.
“Our goal is to make driving safer. We need to show the technology is safe and is a benefit and show we can be ready under certain situations,” said Daniel Lipinski of Audi.
The car finished the trip at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas earlier this month after driving a little more than 550 miles, the longest trip Audi has made with a self-piloted car. They did attempt a similar feat last year, but had to allow a human driver to finish after the car’s computer malfunctioned.
The A7 will self-pilot up to about 70 mph and can sense changes in traffic as well as when the way is clear to change lanes and turn. Whether or not we’ll see the technology on local roads will be up to state lawmakers, however, and some are wary of it already, worrying that allowing a car to pilot itself will lead to even more distracted drivers. But John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, says it’s a no-brainer.
“I think car buyers are going to want this type of technology. Why not? If it can make driving on the highway safer and pay attention if you’re not, a lot of people will find that appealing,” he said.