Audi is stepping into the world of autonomous driving.
Ever since the technology of self-driving cars came into existence, so many companies have rushed to begin tinkering with it however possible. Some companies are only rumored to be working on a self-driving car of sorts (i.e. Apple), but there are others who have been very clear that they're all in on this new technology. Now, there's one more car company getting behind the self-driving car craze.
As revealed by The Verge, luxury car brand Audi has finally shown off snippets of their self-driving car program. Specifically, they showed off their efforts in building completely driverless cars. Even more exciting was when one partner revealed that Audi would like to put their self-driving cars on the road for consumers by 2021. Audi's plans include using software and learning-based approaches to process sensing data picked up by a series of sensors — camera pixels, LIDAR point clouds, and radar echoes. The data found will be similar to a vehicle's environment due to the ability to detect pedestrians, objects, vehicles, and more.
The recent news of Audi's self-driving program is exciting, but it's not unusual for the company. Audi—who is owned by the Volkswagen Group—had previously vowed to spend 14 billion euros (or almost $16 million USD) on both electric mobility and self-driving technology. This spending would occur from now until 2023. In addition, the work would occur at Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID), a subsidiary of Audi. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, the 150 employee-led organization is home to a dozen more autonomous test vehicles for public roads. Such test vehicles include Audis, Porsches, and Volkswagens — all owned by the same group.
According to those close to Audi and AID, the idea is to apply to have so-called "robo-taxis." The next step after that would be to provide the AID with a self-driving stack of ownership known in the company as the Level 4 stack. It would include buses, food deliveries, and trucks. This would be the ultimate goal for Audi's self-driving program.
Despite all the excitement, Audi has admitted that they're not too far ahead in the development of self-driving cars- that is, if you compare them to other car brands. There are also a host of challenges that come with diving into this newer technology. So if Audi is serious about getting into self-driving cars, they will need to put in a lot of hard work in order to get it right for consumers.