By William Maley
Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
January 8, 2013
Eight months after Google became the first company to be licensed by the state of Nevada to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, Audi becomes the first automaker to be licensed.
The German automaker is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. In 2010, a specially-built TTS took on the Pikes Peak Climb, finishing the course in 27 minutes.
Audi will use its license to continue developing and refining its autonomous system, which the automaker equates to auto-pilot system on a plane. Audi's vision for the system would have the driver allowing the vehicle to perform mundane tasks like stop-and-go traffic and parking, while still letting the driver have control when needed.
Press Release is on Page 2
Nevada grants Audi the first automaker permit to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads
• Audi gets second-ever license from the state to test Audi piloted driving
• Audi piloted driving and parking technology will be a focus at 2013 CES
• Audi has been an autonomous driving pioneer through work by its Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University
The State of Nevada issued to Audi only the second license allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads. This makes Audi the first automotive original equipment manufacturer to obtain this special permit. The first license went to technology giant Google.
Audi has been at the forefront of autonomous driving research. Among the early highlights was the 2010 achievement of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research car on the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in Colorado. That Audi research car, developed jointly by the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University, autonomously completed the 156-turn, 12.42-mile Pikes Peak circuit in just 27 minutes.
Today, Audi defines autonomous driving capabilities in terms of piloted parking and piloted driving. The term "piloted" is used advisedly, as Audi envisions motorists enjoying the convenience of allowing the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, for example, while still being able to take control of the car when needed. In this way, the technology is similar to auto-pilot systems found on jetliners. Likewise, autonomous, or piloted parking, would let future Audi models park safely without a driver at the wheel in in tight parking spaces.
Audi will provide updates on strategies involving its Audi piloted driving and piloted parking technologies at the Audi booth during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2013.