Audi pushes ahead with piloted drive vehicle development

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The Audi A7’s autonomous motorway driving maneuvers have been further refined and the vehicle is now even more proficient at showing consideration for other road users.

The autonomous vehicle, which has been internally named Jack, also drives more naturally. This is illustrated by the way it confidently deals with hazardous points on the road, passes trucks with a slightly wider lateral gap and signals upcoming lane changes by activating the indicator and moving closer to the lane marking first.

Its sophisticated navigation system is now capable of computing a route containing the largest possible proportion of piloted driving sections.

When other vehicles want to merge into the same lane as Jack on the motorway, the test car decides – based on the selected driving profile – whether to accelerate or brake, depending on which is best suited to handling the traffic situation harmoniously for all road users.

Meanwhile, Audi is using the digital test site on the A9 autobahn in Germany to develop car-to-X communication. It is also defining and testing elements of the future communications standard 5G together with IT partners.

The local infrastructure plays a special role in piloted driving on the motorway. In addition to sensors in the car, signals from the environment give the driver a precise preview of the road ahead. Audi’s partners for the digital test site on the A9, for example, are testing the internal composition and modified material structure of roadside posts. These are to be designed to reflect the radar sensors of cars even from greater distances.

In addition, project participants within the scope of the test parameters are studying special traffic signs that allow the test vehicles to localize their positions with high precision within the various driving lane markings.

For most customers, the complexity of traffic situations significantly intensifies again along the route segment from the motorway exit to city zones. Audi is researching and developing another test site for this so-called ‘first mile’ in Bavaria, near the redesigned autobahn exit Ingolstadt-Süd. From 2017, Audi will be testing construction methods such as the use of different types of pavement as well as technical solutions such as the use of sensors in junction zones. Piloted driving research cars from Audi are already being incorporated into the design of the new infrastructure. Test operation should begin in 2018.

May 18, 2016

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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