The 2018 Audi A8 debuted in Barcelona earlier this summer at the Audi Summit. The flagship fourth-generation luxury sedan is a technical wunderkind slated to be the first Level 3 self driving car available in production.
All automakers racing toward the fully-autonomous vehicle finish line have to be careful in how they roll out their drivers assist technology for a mass market that remains skeptical of self driving cars. A few mishaps in autonomous driving in 2013 started the race off on the wrong foot, and the pace of what is possible through the technology hasn’t had adequate time to sink in among drivers.
Audi, much like automakers Toyota and Volvo, are taking such cues seriously, and all have orchestrated their own careful rollout of autonomous features. If all goes according to schedule, all three automakers will roll out each set of drivers assist tech in their production models in stages up to 2020—the year each of the automakers has claimed for the debut of their fully autonomous vehicles.
2020 Is the Year of the Self Driving Car (Level 4)
Audi’s plan makes sense. It will stagger the release of each drivers assist platform in its production models—Parking Pilot, Garage Pilot, and Traffic Jam Pilot. The 2018 Audi A8 is the first production model to have been engineered specifically for automated driving. For perspective on how cool a level 3 self driving car is, Tesla’s current Autopilot is a Level 2. The difference is, drivers have to pay attention at all times with Level 2, whereas with Level 3 and Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, the driver’s assist features include fully automated steering, braking, acceleration, and start-up, all without requiring the driver’s participation. This happens with data fed through the front-facing camera and sensors, as well as light detection and ranging (LIDAR).
The AI technology that powers Traffic Jam Pilot in the Audi A8 is provided by Nvidia, who also has partnerships with several other auto manufacturers. Nvidia will also power the Audi A8’s virtual cockpit, infotainment system and headrest tablets. If you are sold on the 2018 Audi A8, you can check with your local AutoNation-affiliated Audi dealer on when they expect the new models to arrive. You’ll also be able to appreciate a fresh new design, infotainment system with touchscreen operation, new electric suspension, and optional hybrid engines.