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.
Why it matters
Self-driving cars have always been a fantasy of futuristic thinking, but now technology is making the fantasy more like reality. This will likely play a huge role in the reduction of crashes due to distracted, drowsy, and drunk driving.
While all of us at TopSpeed are automotive enthusiast in love with driving, we know there are tons of folks who drive out of necessity rather than pleasure. Self-driving cars perhaps will limit traffic congestion during rush hour, for example, while still giving those who choose, the ability to drive for themselves and enjoy a car for what it is rather than the appliance it could turn into.
The A8 is Audi’s most luxurious limousine sedan, and is offered with a standard and extended wheelbase, with both catering to those owners who often ride in the back seat.
The A8 is offered in the U.S. with three engine options: the 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6, the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8, and the 3.0-liter TDI. All three offer decent efficiency and power, with the TDI holding the efficiency baton and the V-8 carrying the performance end. For those who what the biggest and best, Audi still offers the W-12 engine as well.
Pricing for the A8 starts at $77,400 and rises to $137,900 for the long wheelbase version stuffed with the W-12.