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Audi unveils the fully self-driving A8 in Barcelona

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Audi AI will take complete control up to 60km/h

The Audi Summit in Barcelona marks the company's most exclusive brand platform, with a deep focus on digitally connectivity solutions and sustainable mobility in smart cities of the future. The key highlight of the event, though? The world premiere of the all new Audi A8.

Audi AI will take complete control up to 60km/h

The Audi Summit in Barcelona marks the company's most exclusive brand platform, with a deep focus on digitally connectivity solutions and sustainable mobility in smart cities of the future. The key highlight of the event, though? The world premiere of the all new Audi A8.

There’s a lot to love about the new Audi A8 luxury sedan. For one, the A8 marks a new design era for the brand. Another key element is technology and how Artificial Intelligence is totally set to change the driving experience.

jcrop-previewChief among the new technological features is what’s referred to as Audi AI, an artificial intelligence-based software system that controls the self-driving aspects of the car and also acts as an electronic concierge. Audi AI is the first self-driving system announced for production with “Level 3” self-driving capability. The most advanced self-driving system in showrooms today is Level 2 which requires constant monitoring by the driver who needs to able to take over in an instant in case of an emergency.

jcrop-previewAs outlined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 3 is where a car can take complete control but only in specific situations and still with a driver ready to take over after a short warning period. In the A8, the system can handle some parking situations as well as traffic jams on long sections of uninterrupted roads, such as highways, as long as there is a central divider for oncoming lanes. In such conditions, the system can take over control at speeds up to 37 mph. It means you could use a phone or read a book while the system is active.

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There’s a lot to love on the design front. The distinctive body line with the large, upright Singleframe grille and the balanced emphasis of all four wheels projects the confidence of the luxury sedan outward. On the inside, the new Audi A8 will hardly have any buttons or switches. Audi has developed an operating concept in which the new touch display is completely integrated into the black panel surface of the interior. And lets not forget the light animation. When the customer approaches the rear, for example, the light graphics develop across the entire width of the car. This is a first in the industry and what the brand refers to as an expression of progressive self-perception.

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Underpinning the car is the latest version of the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform for front-wheel-drive cars with longitudinally mounted engines, although all A8s will come standard with all-wheel drive. The body continues to be a spaceframe structure composed of aluminum, around 58 percent of the total, plus steel, magnesium and even some carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Most notable is the use of CFRP in the rear panel, contributing 33 percent of the total torsional rigidity of the car.

Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2015 and 2016. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
@anildotgeorge