The engineers over at Audi must have been watching reruns of popular 80’s hit series Knight Rider when they came up with this idea. A self driving, self parking car that would make car valet operators the world over cringe in fear. The first prototype A7 was unveiled at CES2013, and unlike the self driving car of Google, this bit of ingenious technology might just be heading to the consumer front very soon. Not to be mistaken with the park assist feature found in a variety of cars today, Audi’s self park feature allows the owner of the vehicle to alight, and instruct the on board computer to assume control of the vehicle, and find a parking space. If that is not impressive enough, the owner is also able to, via a smart phone app, instruct the car to return to the same point for a pick up.
The self drive feature also works during normal commutes, and is able to take control of the vehicle during traffic jams. The ‘autopilot’ system can be turned on to provide hands free driving for speeds below 60km/h. The autopilot feature is assisted by two radar sensors that is able to monitor up to 250 degress around the vehicle. Eight more ultrasonic monitors, a wide angle video camera and a laser scanner complete the monitoring system to detect objects around and infront of the car.
Audi confirms that more real world tests are being carried out in Germany for now, but expect these systems to make its way to production vehicles in the not too distant future.