Audi Beats Tesla (And GM) To Level 3 Autonomy

Jul. 13, 2017 9:45 AM ETVolkswagen AG (VWAGY)GM, TSLA85 Comments
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  • Audi unveils the next version of its A8 sedan.
  • This is the first production sedan to sport Level 3 autonomous driving technology.
  • Is this significant and how does it compare to solutions from Tesla and GM? I take a look.

I have been saying for a while that despite all the hype surrounding Tesla (TSLA) and its Autopilot system, at least among car manufacturers, the most interesting company is Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY) and the work they are doing with their Audi division. Audi announced on Tuesday that its next A8 sedan will be the first production vehicle to ship with Level 3 self driving technology. In this article I will take a quick look at why this is an important step towards the path to full autonomy and compare it with two rival solutions - Tesla's Autopilot and GM's (GM) Super Cruise.

Audi A8 UnveilSource: Audi A8 Unveil

Audi's Solution
Lets first take a look at what Audi is offering. Audi's forthcoming version of the A8 sedan is the first production automobile to arguably achieve Level 3 autonomy. If you are not familiar with the SAE levels of automation, you can find some information directly from the source here. The key point in moving from Level 2 to Level 3 autonomy is that Level 3 expects that the user only has to intervene whenever the car is not able to handle a situation and asks for the user to take over. The vehicle for its part must be able to perform all activities related to driving the vehicle at other times.

Now to be clear, Audi's solution has certain limitations. For one it is only meant to be activated in relatively slow moving traffic (upto 60 km/hr) and only on divided roads where a physical barrier separates vehicles driving in the opposite direction.

The new A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on freeways and highways

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