The Audi Q2 Deep Learning Concept is the coolest 1:8 Scale Model You’ve Ever Seen
Miniscule prototype created to showcase Audi’s first step towards artificial intelligenceby Kirby Garlitos, on
Concept vehicles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. That’s just part of the game the auto industry has been playing to showcase new technologies or styling languages for its future production lineup. For its part, Audi has developed concept vehicles of its own, but none of those concepts are as different as the Audi Q2 “Deep Learning Concept,” a prototype that’s as unique for the technology it’s previewing as much as for it’s actual size.
See, the Q2 Deep Learning Concept isn’t a traditional car. Far from it, actually. It’s a 1:8 scale model that Audi built as a demonstrator to showcase the new deep learning technology. Without sounding too technical about the concept or deep learning technology, the whole thing is essentially Audi’s way of introducing the space of artificial intelligence into the auto industry. In the case of the Q2 Deep Learning Concept, that involves showcasing a system that allows vehicles to find parking spots entirely on their own.
One look at the Q2 concept tells you as much, particularly the presence of ultrasonic sensors scattered throughout the front and sides of the car. These sensors are responsible for scanning and retrieving data around the vehicle and work in concert with an on-board computer that, in turn, process the data and converts them into control signals for the car’s steering and powertrain. Once the data is processed, the car makes the appropriate responses and drives itself around a parking lot until it can find a spot to park, doing all of this by itself without any assistance from a human driver.
The whole system is underpinned by another technological development that Audi’s cooking up called “deep reinforcement learning.” In so many words, the process basically means that a specific car learns “knowledge” similar to us humans. In its case, it could revolve around trying to find easy parking spots before learning more sophisticated parking maneuvers over time.
All of these systems and advancements are being presented by Audi and the 1:8 scale Q2 Deep Learning Concept at the Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, an event that showcases the latest breakthroughs and developments related to the field of, you guessed it, artificial intelligence. The conference is being held in Barcelona, Spain and is ongoing until December 10, 2016.
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There’s a place for AI in the future of the auto industry
This is a small preview of what the future of the auto industry is going to look like. Ever remember a time when automakers participated in science-centric conferences? Well, prepare yourselves to see more of this, now that electrification and autonomous mobility have been identified as the future of the business.
Audi’s participation at an event focusing on artificial intelligence isn’t an accident, nor is it going to be a one-time thing. This is where the business is headed and as research and development advances to the point of actual application, you’re going to see more companies like Audi showcasing their products to events like this.
It sounds complicated on the surface, maybe even a little out of place. But it’s also a beautiful thing because these car brands are now recognizing the importance of being in sync with the development curve of these scientific segments.
It sounds complicated on the surface, maybe even a little out of place. But it’s also a beautiful thing because these car brands are now recognizing the importance of being in sync with the development curve of these scientific segments. If they get left behind, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to adapt to the changes in these fields, especially if these changes happen in as rapid a pace as autonomous driving technology.
For those who don’t know, this is Audi’s first time attending the Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems. It also likely won’t be the last now that the German automaker has dipped its toes into this scientific ecosystem.
The adaptation of artificial intelligence into the auto industry might still be cloudy at this point in time, but as the Q2 Deep Learning Concept is currently showing us, that picture could become clearer once the technology developed by automakers in this field speeds up.