Audi’s au­ton­o­mous fleet

● Brand makes big move to­wards au­ton­omy with batch of Level 4 ‘mind-off’ ve­hi­cles based on Ai­con con­cept

Auto Express - - CONTENTS - Richard_in­gram@den­nis.co.uk @rsp_in­gram Richard Ingram

Ai­con EV leads bold pi­lot for self-driv­ing cars by 2021

AUDI will launch a pi­lot fleet of au­ton­o­mous cars in 2021, based on the Ai­con con­cept first dis­played at last year’s Frankfurt Mo­tor Show.

The news was con­firmed by com­pany boss Ru­pert Stadler and rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant step in the move to fully au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.

“Our vi­sion of the new pre­mium is why – in just three years from now – we will present our first au­ton­o­mous pi­lot scheme,” Stadler said. “This fleet will be based on the Audi Ai­con.”

The num­ber of ve­hi­cles to be launched un­der the pi­lot scheme has not been con­firmed, but every Ai­con will fea­ture ad­vanced Level 4 ‘mind-off’ au­ton­o­mous tech­nol­ogy.

The Ai­con is a fully elec­tric four­door 2+2 de­signed to show­case the firm’s fu­ture styling di­rec­tion and fully au­ton­o­mous Level 5 driv­ing. It also gives us an idea of how Audi will ap­proach in­te­rior pack­ag­ing when there’s no need for a steer­ing wheel or ped­als.

How­ever, due to the fact that the 2021 pi­lot test fleet will re­quire some level of hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, the ve­hi­cles used will be adapted to in­clude more con­ven­tional con­trols.

“Au­ton­o­mous cars make our cus­tomers feel more au­ton­o­mous as well,” Stadler told us. “This is where we ex­pand our lead­er­ship in au­ton­o­mous driv­ing.”

The project will mark 50 years of Audi’s fa­mous ‘Vor­sprung durch Tech­nik’ mantra, which trans­lates in English to ‘Progress through Tech­nol­ogy’. While un­con­firmed, it’s likely that ini­tial tests will take place in China, where Audi is also look­ing to trial ad­vanced 5Gcon­nected Ve­hi­cle to X (V2X) tech­nol­ogy.

“This is not one car. It’s a com­mu­nity,” said an of­fi­cial. “It al­lows com­mu­ni­ca­tion with peo­ple, fa­cil­i­ties and cars.”

Ai­con seen at Frankfurt show is set to make up fleet of au­ton­o­mous EVS

“Elec­tric Ai­con show­cases Audi’s fu­ture styling and fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing”

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