Audi Prologue concept
Production Piloted Driving tech tipped to debut in concept car
Audi is expected to unveil a concept version of the next A8 sedan with Piloted Driving autonomous tech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month, according to Autocar. The automaker will have a significant presence at the CES though it has not explicitly confirmed that the concept car, which it says will be in attendance, will be the next-generation flagship. Audi has offered a number of glimpses of the tech in the next-generation A8, which will debut in 2017 for the 2018 model year.
Originally, Audi was expected to offer a production A8 sedan with Piloted Driving technology in 2016, but has pushed the debut back a year to work out technical issues and to boost its capabilities. At the 2015 CES the automaker showcased a working prototype A7 with Piloted Driving tech that arrived under its own power from Palo Alto, with VW and Audi’s R&D head at the time, Ulrich Hackenberg, promising a production version on the market by the end of 2016. Audi executives stated the A8 that would be able to operate autonomously at speeds up to 37 mph and to be able to find and pull into a parking spot.
“We will start with 60 km/h,” Hackenberg said in January of 2015. “The next step will be something more. The next step will be under highway conditions. Full autonomous driving, that will take some time. You need more sensor clusters and there are some legal points to consider.”
In a statement about CES earlier this month, Audi said that executives “will present the latest technologies, products and megatrends in the areas of electrification, digitalization and piloted driving. With a concept car and numerous technology exhibits, Audi is offering an outlook on the automotive future, which will be influenced more than ever by the electronics field.”
This year’s Piloted Driving tech is expected to be functional at highway speeds, and will preview a number of other safety-related automated systems including accident avoidance. In addition to the familiar suite of sensors and cameras, the system also involves a real-time data linkup to mainframe computers that keep track of the car’s environment.
The CES is scheduled to start on Jan. 6, 2016, with a number of automakers scheduled to showcase technology and concept cars.