Are you ready to drive into the future? So are the engineers of Audi cars! The world of science fiction came to Albany on Tuesday, June 13 with a demonstration of Audi’s new driverless technology.
You might remember the months spent learning to drive with parents who never fully trusted that you knew how the brakes worked or the stress of trying to parallel park perfectly on your driver’s licence test. You might also remember the freedom that came with finally passing. Audi, the German automaker owned by Volkswagen Group, wants to take that feeling of freedom one step further: autonomous vehicles.
Audi’s A7 piloted driving prototype, also known as Jack the self-driving car, is capable of hands-free driving, but allows a person to take over if necessary. The development of driverless technology is part of an ongoing initiative to create safer driving conditions by eliminating accidents caused by human error.
Since 2005, Audi has been working towards creating intelligent driving vehicles for its luxury cars and for driverless taxis to be used in urban areas. Imagine cruising down the road getting work done, making phone calls, or talking to friends while the car drives itself, with the exception of responding to requests to intervene when necessary.
Does it all seem like futuristic fiction? Hands free driving is closer to home than you might think.
Audi in Albany
Audi was the first car company to apply for rights to demonstrate autonomous vehicle technology in New York state under a one year program. The plan was approved in April and Audi’s first test in the state took place on the morning of Tuesday, June 13 in and around Albany.
Audi engineers, accompanied by state lawmakers, rode in Jack the self-driving car through downtown Albany to Interstate 90, where Jack took control. Due to the vehicle’s programming, the only independent driving took place on I-90, with the rest of the driving done by the Audi engineer sitting in the driver’s seat. The car was tailed by a state trooper for the entirety of its time on the road.
The success of Audi’s first New York test will help to pave the road for the future of self-driving vehicles. Keep an eye out for more vehicle tests in the next year, because that science fiction future might soon become reality!
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Times Union: New York’s first driverless car test coming to Albany
Times Union: Audi tests autonomous vehicle in Albany