To kick-off the exciting developments in the field of in-the-car technologies, Audi announced a ‘piloted drive’ in an A7 trip from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. The showcase journey demonstrates innovation in various types of sensors that are nearing production-readiness. Among the sensor technologies are long and medium-range sensors used in adaptive cruise control (ACC) and Audi side assist (ASA). The sensors feed the central computer with data on the vehicle’s surroundings allowing the car to make in-traffic lane changes and passing maneuvers safely. While the technology will operate the vehicle at speeds as high as 70 mph (112 km/h), the vehicle does require the driver to take control in city environments.
The advances in self-driving technologies unveiled throughout 2014 as well as at this week’s CES are very exciting. And equally as noteworthy, is evolution in attitudes and policies that made the drive from Stanford, CA to Las Vegas, NV perfectly legal and acceptable. The technologies and policies that are required to move self-driving cars from the world of science fiction and onto real roadways are advancing faster than some had anticipated.
At this point in time, it doesn’t seem all that farfetched to talk about a vehicle with an impressive degree of automation hitting the market in the next five years. MachNation expects such technologies will start to make their way into cars gradually, slowly handing off various aspects of driving from a human behind the wheel to an on-board computer. In 2015, we also anticipate exciting developments in the field in inter vehicle communication — further improving the ability of a self-driving car to safely navigate the roads by sharing sensor data with other self-driving cars in its vicinity.