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Next-Generation Audi A8 Will be Fully Autonomous

Next-Generation Audi A8 Will be Fully Autonomous

Audi is apparently planning for its next A8 sedan to be a better driver than you. Yep, Audi’s Head of Product and Technology Communications Stefan Moser told Motoring the upcoming 2017 Audi A8 will be fully autonomous, capable of driving completely on its own.

"If we have a proper system it will always be better than human beings," he said. "They are not phoning, not looking at pretty girls, no distractions."

Moser also commented on Audi’s commitment to being the first automaker to bring such a comprehensive system to the marketplace. Now it is just a matter of letting the legislation catch up with the technology, he continues.

Besides changing the laws on the books, Audi must ensure its autonomous driving systems will work in every situation and every weather condition. "The camera system is not able to always do everything. We have also lasers; we will have more sensors too. With a laser you can see in fog, for instance," Moser told Motoring.

Audi has already made history with the recent lapping of Hockenheim racetrack with a driver-free RS 7. The public demonstration went perfectly to plan, showcasing Audi’s self-driving technology.

Currently, cars in Germany are restricted by law to only allow roughly 10 seconds of autonomous driving at a time, requiring input from the driver at each interval. Now thanks to some states in the U.S., Audi will have the chance to bring self-driving cars to market without hindrance. As time progresses, laws limiting self-driving cars will surely change and the restrictions will fall.

Note: Current Audi A8 pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the next generation Audi A8.

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Audi RS5 Leads Police on Fastest British Chase

Audi RS5 Leads Police on Fastest British Chase

Criminals are all too often not the brightest bulbs in the pack and this usually results in them using something like a 1989 Dodge Shadow as their getaway car. Well, not to compliment a robber, but this UK thief took planning to a whole new level and stole himself a real getaway ride, a 450-horsepower Audi RS5.

After his 16th robbery of a UK business, he took off in the RS5 and the police could hardly keep up – seeing the cars they drive, it is no surprise. The dude even outran a helicopter. It wasn’t until he decided to make a stopover at a local apartment complex that he was tracked down and busted.

The police estimated that he was doing upwards of 180 mph during the chase and by the looks of the helicopter camera, his tires gave way at some point and he was shooting sparks from the rims – a tribute to that wonderful Quattro AWD system, if I may add.

RS5 as seen by the police chopper infrared camera - shooting heat from exhaust and wheels

In all, this 65-mile run from the cops in a stolen Audi beast – and the multiple robberies – landed this thief in jail for nine years. A rather light sentence for all of those crimes and an extremely fast police chase. We guess they do things a little differently in the UK.

Anyways, check out the above video to see all of the craziness. You’ll notice that the cameras are pretty choppy in the beginning, but the chase section is nice and smooth.

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Correction: Audi Does NOT Own Ducati, Lamborghini Does

Correction: Audi Does NOT Own Ducati, Lamborghini Does

Okay, for ease of understanding we always just place Lamborghini under Volkswagen AG’s umbrella, but in reality, VW owns 99 percent of Audi AG who in turn owns Lamborghini... got it? In a third party, back-door kinda way, yes, VW does own Lamborghini... sort of. So earlier in the year, we mentioned that Audi had secured the Italian motorcycle builder, Ducati, for about $1 billion.

According to Audi’s financial report, it is not the owner of Ducati. How in the world does that kind of error slip through the cracks, right? Well, apparently, Audi follows the same school of thought as its parent company, Volkswagen AG, and tries to push the bounds of legality to get things done, a la Porsche getting a share of VW to exempt VW from paying taxes on the buyout.

Instead of Audi buying Ducati, Lamborghini actually bought it. This does two things for VW, Audi, and Lamborghini. First, it allows it to retain its Italian roots and secondly, it helps push Lamborghini’s overall fuel economy and emissions closer to the European standards that have plagued it in recent years.

So VW has found a way to slither its way through the EU rulebook and find a way around a very important law. Touché, VW, we bow to your supreme rule-bending abilities and the way you do it without us even noticing sometimes.

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Audi Planning to Eliminate Rearview Mirrors in Le Mans Cars

Audi Planning to Eliminate Rearview Mirrors in Le Mans Cars

One feature that automakers have teased us with and even installed on concept cars is an LED screen and camera in the place of the old-style rearview mirror. With all of the cameras placed all around cars these days, like Subaru’s EyeSight system and the various backup cameras, we are surprised this hasn’t become a reality. The assumed reasons for rearview screens not taking the place of rearview mirrors are NHTSA and DOT regulations.

Honestly, we don’t see why the NHTSA and DOT would think a hunk of glass glued to the windshield is safer than a crisp LED image from an HD camera. Then again those two government offices – as with all government offices – make strange regulations. Apparently an LED screen and camera are plenty for Audi’s future Le Mans cars, as the automaker has just announced, via a press release, that its closed LMP prototype will run with an AMOLED screen in place of the mirror and a rear-mounted camera feeding the images to the screen.

The main reasoning behind this is that the LMP prototype’s cabin is fully closed, with exception of the front windshield, so a rearview mirror would display nothing but the rear wall of the cabin. So, if this technology is good enough for racecars, why are we not seeing it installed in street cars yet? Well, we just very well might, as you likely do not remember, but the rearview mirror was not used on motor cars until Ray Harroun’s Marmon “Wasp” used one in the first Indianapolis 500, in 1911. It later became standard per NHTSA regulations for all cars to come with this item, thanks to its overwhelming success in racing.

Odds are that if this system is successful in racing that the NHTSA will adopt it, especially given the fact that rearview cameras are soon to become mandatory on all vehicle.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

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$1.5 Million in Luxury Cars Seized by U.S. Customs

$1.5 Million in Luxury Cars Seized by U.S. Customs

There are a lot of new car scams in the world and most of them are initiated by the new car dealer, not the buyer. A group of buyers flipped the script on several Los Angeles dealerships, by using fake identities to purchase 20 cars and were shipping them to Hong Kong and Vietnam to sell them for two to three times their U.S. value.

It was a laundry list of luxury vehicles, such as a $280,000 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia, an Audi Quattro, 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, along with several Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, and BMW SUVs among others. For some reason, the thieves even threw in a Toyota Tundra.

The one that got these fraudsters busted was the Ferrari 458 Italia, as Ferrari fitted the supercar with a GPS system as standard, which Ferrari used to track the car once they found out they were defrauded. This led U.S. Customs and the California highway Patrol to conduct a full investigation and find the cars on a ship that had already pulled away from the port.

Needless to say, that ship was forced to come back and all but four of the cars were recovered. The four non-recovered cars are due to be shipped back by Vietnamese Customs.

According to the report, had the fraudsters not gone after the Ferrari, chances are they would have gotten away with this scam and made a ton of money in the process. The total amount of the vehicles seized by U.S. customs is estimated at $1.5 million, which would have pulled in around $3 million in Hong Kong and Vietnam.

We are still trying to figure out what in the world a Toyota Tundra was doing in the mix with all of these high-end luxury cars. We also wonder which thief drew the short straw and was stuck going to the Toyota dealership to pick this thing up?

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