Audi’s Jack the driver impresses in test
AUDI sent “Jack”, a self-driving A7 3,0 TFSI quattro on a 900 km drive from Silicon Valley in California to Nevada in Las Vegas last month.
It was the biggest such experiment by a German car maker since BMW send a 330i at speed around the Top Gear track in England in 2007, and Mercedes Benz an S500 along the very first car’s 100-kilometre route from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany in 2013.
Under the watchful eyes of several journalists en route, Jack proved itself very capable of driving in traffic. Journalists were impressed with the concept car’s ability to drive comfortably and the logical user interface for which Audi is known.
Jack offers to relieve the driver of driving duties over 110 km/h. The car can initiate lane changes and passing manoeuvrers as well as accelerate and brake independently. As required by law in California, an Audi test driver accompanied the drive from the passenger seat. Before the piloted driving system reaches its limitations, in city environs for example, the driver is requested to take control. Audi says this is to ensure proper safety, but as 99,9% of crashes are due to human error, the decision probably has more to do with the fact that the legal industry intends to sue all parties should a self-steering car go wrong. The concept vehicle used production-ready sensors as well as sensors integrated into production vehicles today. Audi said the sensors are close to production.
Professor Ulrich Hackenberg (a member of the board of management of Audi AG for technical development) stands beside the new Audi Q7 launched at the Detroit Auto Show. Soon, Audis like this will have ‘Jack’ driving them.