Audi A8 – Audi AI traffic jam pilot
World debut for highly automated driving: the Audi AI traffic jam pilot
With the Audi AI traffic jam pilot, the brand with the four rings presents the world’s first system that enables highly automated driving at Level 3. The car takes over the task of driving in certain situations. Unlike at Level 2, the driver no longer needs to monitor it permanently. They must merely be capable of taking back responsibility whenever the system prompts them to.
The driver activates the traffic jam pilot with the AI button on the center console. On freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways, the system takes over the driving task in traffic jam and slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph). In these situations the traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. It can also handle challenging constellations such as vehicles cutting in closely in front. The signals that the traffic jam pilot needs for highly automated driving are supplied for instance by the central driver assistance controller (zFAS).
With the traffic jam pilot active, the driver can relax. In this specific traffic situation they can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the vehicle infotainment system. In this instance the Audi virtual cockpit supplies abstract representations that symbolize the motion and surroundings of the new A8.
During highly automated travel a small camera in the driving area detects if the driver tires or falls sleep. If that happens, a multi-stage warning is given. As soon as the speed rises above 60 km/h (37.3 mph) or the line of vehicles breaks up, the traffic jam pilot informs the driver that they need to take charge of driving once again. If they ignore this prompt and the subsequent warnings, the new A8 is braked to a standstill. The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual country, along with the specific definition of the application and testing of the system. The brand’s high quality standards are equally applicable in the realm of highly automated driving. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.