Audi’s self-driving prototype might show more consideration for other drivers on the road than some human beings.
The Audi A7 piloted driving concept has received the nickname “Jack” by the German automaker, and Audi claims “it has learned how to show consideration for other road users.” Not only is the A7 able to autonomously drive itself on the highway, but it also exhibits a driving style that safely adapts to the given situation, making it a research car with social competence. For example, Jack is showing that it drives more naturally through all the data it has gathered, now passing trucks with slightly wider lateral gap. It also signals upcoming lane changes by activating the turn signal and moving closer to the lane marking first, performing the act like some human drivers do.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jack is how it makes decisions when other drivers want to merge into its lane. The test car will decide, based on the select driving profile, whether it will accelerate or brake in order to handle the traffic situation in a way that benefits everyone on the road. That might be more than we can say about some human drivers who will never let other cars merge.
Audi has spent the past few years investing heavily into piloted driving features and is expected to introduce the technology with the next-generation Audi A8 that will debut next year. In the U.S., Audi had a driverless TTS etch the brand’s four ring trademark into the surface of a salt flat as well as conquer the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb. It has also campaigned an RS7 Sportback at the Hockenheim Motodrome in Germany, turning in lap times comparable to or even better than professional drivers.