We have previously written about the Google self-driving car. Although Google was the first to obtain a license to test its car on Nevada roads, Google is not an automobile manufacturer and it is unlikely to offer its self-driving car to the public. Audi, on the other hand, is an established automobile manufacturer. Audi became the third company to obtained a license to test self-driving cars in Nevada.
Audi Self-Driving Cars
Audi is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. It has a history of making autonomous vehicles. This includes the driverless TTS, which was able to drive up Pikes Peak in Colorado, a dangerous road even for capable human drivers.
Audi Shrinks the Autonomous Car
As an automaker, Audi wants to make the autonomous features a lot more practical. No one wants a car with a collection of sensors on the roof or computers filling up the trunk. Making a self-driving car is no longer the problem; the technology for that now exists. The goal now is to embed the associated equipment into a car without making it look any different than a normal car.
Audi’s cars will use a compact laser scanner that is small enough to fit into the grill of a car, and is cheaper than the roof-mounted scanners on the Google Car. Audi has also revealed a small circuit board that will take the place of bulky computers. This will be integrated into the trunk of the car, but still allow space for cargo.
Self-Parking Car Revealed
At the international CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this year Audi revealed the A7, its self-parking car. Using your smart phone, you can tell your car to come pick you up, or even just get out and have it go park itself. An app on your phone would be able to allow you to tell your car exactly where you are, and even let you help pick the safest or fastest course there. Of course, you have to help the car find an empty parking spot.
One challenge with this technology is making the smartphone app with the layouts of enough parking facilities around the world to justify making this feature available to everyone. Other problems include the real-world scenario problems like local laws, weather considerations and unpredictable pedestrians.
Audi owns over 400 U.S. patents and has almost 300 pending U.S. patent applications. Here is a sample of one of Audi’s patents:
Title: Motor Vehicle Control System
Abstract: A control system for a motor vehicle comprises an output control unit for outputting data related to the operation of the motor vehicle and an operation control unit spatially separated from the output control unit for generating or providing data related to the operation of the motor vehicle. The output control unit comprises a data storage for storing data related to the operation of the motor vehicle and the data related to the operation of the motor vehicle can be read out of the data storage and outputted by the output control unit.