LAS VEGAS – Audi showcased its new “piloted driving” technology at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, along with its different driver assistance technologies already in Audi vehicles. The automaker said its new piloted driving technology can steer, accelerate, and brake the vehicle at speeds up to 37.28 mph. Audi added that it could allow future Audi vehicles to park themselves, and the automaker demonstrated this technology at CES.
According to Audi’s Bradley Stertz, the vehicle uses various existing driver assistance systems, including cameras and radar, as well a computer in the trunk that uses data from these systems to help the vehicle maneuver. When the vehicle is outdoors with a clear view to a satellite, it uses GPS. A driver can use a smartphone-based app to control certain types of autonomous driving features, for example parking.
Systems in use that allow for piloted driving include adaptive cruise control with its Stop & Go function, which regulates the vehicle’s speed and distance in front. Audi modified this system by adding a “lateral guidance” component. Two radar sensors monitor everything in front of the vehicle up to a distance of 820 ft. at a scanning angle of around 35 degrees. A wide-angle video camera monitors lane markings and can detect pedestrians and other objects. In addition to these sensors, eight ultrasonic sensors monitor the zones directly in front of the vehicle and at its corners, and a laser scanner provides precise data at a scanning angle of around 140 degrees up to 262 ft. in front of the vehicle.
The piloted driving system can analyze the vehicle’s speed, and the speeds of nearby vehicles, and if it detects a traffic jam at speeds below 37 mph, the driver can activate the “assistance “feature. This feature allows the vehicle to automatically adjust its speed and distance with relation to other cars. If traffic loosens up and nearby vehicles begin accelerating, the vehicle will prompt the driver to take over.
The integrated driver assistance systems also allow the vehicle to park itself, for example in a garage. Once it parks in a space, if turns off the engine and ignition, locks the doors, and then sends a confirmation to the driver. The vehicle will stop if it detects an obstacle. It also uses a total of 12 ultrasonic sensors to detect its surroundings, and Audi said it plans to use four video cameras for this function in the future.
Audi is also developing parking facility technology in Ingolstadt, Germany, that is capable of communicating with systems in Audi vehicles. As part of Audi’s project, the parking facility would be equipped with a central computer that can track the positions and movements of vehicles inside the facility and communicate with individual vehicles to guide them in and out of available parking spaces.
The video above shows a demonstration of how Audi’s technology allows a vehicle to autonomously park itself.