It looks like Audi is getting ahead of the autonomous game, introducing the AI Traffic Jam Pilot with the new A8, the market’s first SAE Level 3 autonomous system.
In fact, the system is so advanced, Audi is probably going to ask for a type approval exemption from regulators as the relevant legal frameworks are still being drafted.
This will enable Audi to accelerate the introduction of the AI Traffic Jam Pilot in Europe with the all new A8.
When traveling in nose-to-tail traffic with the system engaged and up to speeds of 60km/h (37mph), the driver is no longer needed to continuously monitor the car and the road. Audi’s AI Traffic Jam Pilot can safely take over control of the car on highways and multi-lane motorways with a physical barrier between the two directions of the traffic.
That involves starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane but also handle more demanding situations such as a car cutting in closely in front. Unlike Level 2 systems, the driver can focus on another activity.
The system also utilizes a camera facing the driver which checks if he or she is prepared to resume driving, by analyzing the position and movement of the head and eyes. If the driver’s eyes remain closed for an extended period, the system alerts the driver to resume driving, with the same happening if the speed exceeds the 60km/h limit or the traffic begins to clear. If the driver ignores the warnings, then the AI Traffic Jam Pilot brakes the car to a complete stop in its lane.
The new Audi A8 is set to launch this December but Audi expects to start installing the AI Traffic Jam Pilot incrementally, depending on the legal situation in every country.