Audi’s Self-Driving Car Won’t Be Coming to a Dealer Near You
Sweden has decided to hold back its super safe luxurious Audi A8 from the United States, according to Alex Davies, a transportation writer for Wired magazine.
While America may be the autonomous car development leader, Audi decided to limit its new semiautonomous driving feature, which Wired call “road worthy,” to Europe. The Traffic Jam Pilot takes control of the car on the highway at speeds below 37 mph, eliminating the need for human oversight needed for current systems like Tesla’s Autopilot.
Audi said there are too many state laws and regulations that conflict for the company to try to meet them all. The “Level 3” system can safely control itself, but still needs a human available to take over if, say, the weather interferes or the lane lines disappear. (Carmakers advise drivers using Tesla Autopilot, Cadillac Super Cruise, or Nissan Pro Pilot to watch the road constantly to be ready to take over.)
The difference is small but important. As Audi’s website puts it: “With Traffic Jam Pilot engaged, drivers no longer need to continuously monitor the vehicle and the road. They must merely stay alert and capable of taking over the task of driving when the system prompts them to do so.” If you’re on the highway and stuck in slow traffic, activate the system and feel free to look at your phone or even read a book. Just don’t fall asleep, get drunk, or cut off your hands.
This represents the first real self-driving car. While Germany passed a law last year making autonomous cars explicitly legal, the U.S. federal government hasn’t and has no federal guidelines yet.