Automotive

Audi gets California's first autonomous driving permit

Audi announced it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California
Audi announced it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California
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Audi announced it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California
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Audi announced it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California
According to Audi, California is especially crucial as the automaker’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL), located in the state
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According to Audi, California is especially crucial as the automaker’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL), located in the state

Audi has announced that it will be the first auto manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the State of California. The new autonomous vehicle laws that went into effect yesterday require the German automaker to submit a surety of bond of at least US$5 million per vehicle in order to qualify.

Audi acquired a Nevada autonomous driving plate in 2012 and was the first manufacturer to test on a connected freeway this July in Florida. But according to Audi, California is especially crucial as the automaker’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL), located in the state, is working on critical issues such as human-machine interfaces. It is also home to Stanford University, which collaborated with Audi on the autonomous Pike Peak’s car.

"Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Obtaining the first permit issued by the State of California shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier."

Over the past ten years, Audi has trial tested autonomous vehicles over tens of thousands of miles in Europe and select states in the US. The company believes its autonomous technology will be ready for practical consumer application within the next five years.

Footage of the autonomous Audi A7 from the Tampa drive can be seen below.

Source: Audi

10 comments
Stephen N Russell
The future has come.
Bob Flint
How did the vehicle get from in front of the building to the "staged test track"? Perfect for the slow moving stop & go traffic of most cities, but not convinced that this will actually zip along and merge at highway speeds. Needs a caution "slow moving vehicle" triangle attached to all sides. I understand that we need to learn to walk, before running, but ever single autonomous vehicle has so far been a slow-motion modern day turtle, as compared to the rabbits running around today.
zevulon
the future of insurance destroying innovation has come. testing 100 cars is going to cost a policy of 500 million worth of insurance? a normal car driving ALL YEAR round with a human driver has a policy usually worth 300 to 400k . many are work 200k. this one automated test car is not going to be driving recklessly or drunk. and yet it is being required to hold more than 10 times the average insurance policy per car. and it will probably cost a good deal more than 10x the cost of a normal policy because it's a custom policy and a 'big' business is paying for it. it's going to cost millions of dollars as an added surcharge just to TEST these vehicles on the roads. this is how european innovation went down the tubes. banks and insurance companies mandating overhead for innovation. killing the golden goose.
Chevypower
I enjoy driving, I don't know why people are getting so excited for cars to drive us. We humans just keep getting lazier and lazier. Plus an autonomous car wouldn't be any good for me, I like to explore roads and trails that don't have names and don't really have a specific Point of Interest to search for.
Mel Tisdale
I'll believe that the future has come when I can see these vehicles coping with the curved balls that life throws at us all the time. Yesterday we had GM telling us to let go of the wheel and pedals and let the car take the strain on the wide open roads. Yeah, right! The trouble is there will be some who will believe the hype and actually do just that. Never mind how many times they are told to remain attentive, there will come a time when their confidence in the technology will have reached such a pitch that they will allow themselves to be distracted by whatever. Most of the time this will end o.k. and they might not even notice that they were in danger for a period of time. But, as sure as eggs is eggs, there will come a time when it will end in disaster. Just imagine not noticing that the rain that has obviously fallen was quite torrential and has left a couple of inches or so of standing water. With any luck, there will be other traffic that slows down and slows you with it as the autonomous system does it job. But if not? An aquaplaning car is uncontrollable, period. If you happen to be doing 80 mph, say, when you reach the water, then 80 will be close to the speed that you hit whatever it is that you are going to hit, unless you are very lucky. The system cannot read, so it will be no use flashing warning signals and imposing a temporary speed limit. The only solution will be for there to be some wireless communication between the Highways Agency, or whomever, and the vehicles. Who is going to pay for that and who is going to ensure that its signal cannot be jammed, the way GPS can be (and thus so much for lane centring). The more these items come along as the motor industry and Google demonstrate just how much money they have available to waste on such notions, the more problems I see with the technology as I go about my normal driving. There are so many instances where the driver will have to take over the controls that the term 'autonomous vehicle' should have pride of place in any dictionary of misnomers. We would all be better off if we adopted more realistic ambitions and encouraged these systems under the classification of 'driver assistance.' That way we might get sensible V2V communication where the vehicles themselves decide on who goes first when lanes merge. Where the driver is told that it is not safe to exit onto the main road. That ensures the car keeps to the speed limit (a limit that can be radioed in if it is reduced in an emergency (and warns the driver of a jamming signal if there is one). Where emergency vehicles are automatically given priority. But where the driver is always there to provide hefty doses of common sense. Give it at least 25 years and have a global standard for the technology in place before talking about joining the dots to make autonomous vehicles. By that time there will be so few 'normal' cars left they can be banned with little public outcry. That situation will provide a sound foundation for the next stage in development - autonomous vehicles. It would be a shame if we rushed it now, killed a number of people because we really aren't ready and in the process put it back for decades, if not permanently. The funny thing is that airliners are technologically much closer to being pilotless than cars and trucks are to being driverless. When the airline industry jumps that hurdle, then the psychology of the public might make them more amenable to riding in driverless cars, all doing high speeds along the highway and busily talking to each other and the authorities to ensure safety. A worthwhile goal, but not just yet, eh?
warren52nz
I've always thought that cars that drive themselves is the way of the future. Once they perfect it there will be no more accidents. But I like driving too so it should be voluntary. Having cars track the cars in front of them and change the following distance according to the speed including automatic braking isn't new. My 2007 Lexus has that.
Bill Bennett
Just DRIVE your effing car, I drive My Son's modded RSX Type S fast and My 1983 modded URQ fast and hard, I drive, no phone or texting, drive your car, I could not imagine getting stuck behind this thing going 20 mph through the twistys on Mountain Home Road near Sherwood Oregon, I would pass it stop and beat the chit out of it with a baseball bat, then shoot up the engine compartment, that thing looked like 20 mph was top speed.
nutcase
Driving is a common fetish easily propagated by comedians like Jeremy Clarkson. Excessive fascination with overpowered machinery provides fertile material for psychologists and psychiatrists alike. We should keep in mind that the horse is an autonomous vehicle.
Charles Bosse
Bill, thanks for reminding us exactly why we should be looking to take the human element out of dangerous activities as soon as possible. Also, get some help with that! There are far better things to with your passion than beat up robots.
Bob Vious
This will be great for older folks