Audi has become the second recipient – and the first auto manufacturer – of a license to allow it to test autonomous vehicles on Nevada’s public roads. It follows in the tire tracks of Google, which was given the first self-driving license and exclusive red license plates last year, giving it the go ahead to test its modified Toyota Prius on the state’s roads.
Audi is no slouch when it comes to autonomous driving technology. In 2010 the company’s Autonomous TTS research car completed the 12.42-mile (20 km) of twists and turns that make up the Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in an impressive 27 minutes. That’s around 10 minutes longer than an expert human driver would take in the same car.
Instead of completely taking over from a human driver, in the near term at least, Audi’s autonomous technology is aimed at taking over the boring task of stop-start driving, with drivers still being able to take control when needed, and to let the cars park in tight parking spaces without the driver at the wheel.