The Audi AI concept comprises a new generation of high-end assistance technologies extending all the way up to conditional automated driving. Three of them will be available for the first time in the new A8: the Audi AI (remote) parking pilot, the Audi AI remote garage pilot and the Audi AI traffic jam pilot.
World debut for conditional automated driving: the Audi AI traffic jam pilot
With the Audi AI traffic jam pilot, the brand with the four rings is presenting the world’s first system to enable conditional automated driving at level 3. On highways and multi-lane motorways with a physical barrier separating the two directions of traffic, the Audi A8 can handle the driving task in nose-to-tail traffic up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph). It manages starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane. Unlike with a level 2 system, the driver need no longer constantly monitor the car. Once the driver has started the traffic jam pilot with the AI button on the center console, they can take their foot off the accelerator and their hands from the steering wheel, and depending on local regulations devote themselves to an activity supported by the car. The driver must merely be capable of taking back control of the vehicle whenever the system prompts them to.
While traffic jam pilot is activated, a camera checks whether the driver is prepared to resume the task of steering if needed. It analyzes the position and movement of the head and eyes in order to generate anonymized data. If a driver’s eyes remain closed for an extended period, for example, the system prompts the driver to resume the driving task. The request to resume control occurs in three phases – ranging from visual and acoustic warnings all the way to emergency braking. The same applies if the speed exceeds 60 km/h (37.3 mph) or traffic begins to clear. If the driver ignores this prompt and the subsequent warnings, the A8 is braked continuously until it stops completely in its lane.
Introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot requires both clarity regarding the legal parameters for each country and specific adaptation and testing of the system. Moreover, varying worldwide homologation procedures and their deadlines must be observed. For these reasons, Audi will initiate series production of the traffic jam pilot in the new A8 incrementally, depending on the legal situation in the respective country.
Park and watch: the Audi AI remote parking pilot and garage pilot
The Audi AI (remote) parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot turn parking into a truly comfortable experience: they drive the A8 autonomously into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces as well as garages, and can also drive it back out by accessing the steering, the accelerator, the brakes and tiptronic. The driver monitors the maneuvering, but does not need to be sitting in the vehicle – both systems can be started using a smartphone featuring the new myAudi app. To do this, the driver simply presses the Audi AI button in the app and keeps the button pressed during the entire parking process. In the display, the driver sees live images from the vehicle’s surrounding cameras. The A8 then drives into the parking space at a speed of up to 6 km/h (3.7 mph), if necessary in several maneuvers. Alternatively, the driver can start the Audi AI parking pilot using the AI button in the center console if the driver is still sitting behind the wheel.
The Audi AI (remote) parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot work both intelligently and conveniently. The sedan can even correctly park in a garage in which the vehicle must drive in an arc. Inside the garage, the A8 can approach very close to the walls and obstructions such as bikes – or it will interrupt entry if there is not enough space for the car. This special function benefits especially from the innovative laser scanner and is not available in any other competitor model.
Picture of the surroundings: the central driver assistance controller
Backing up these new high-end systems is the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which is making its debut in the new A8. About the size of a tablet, it continually merges the signals from all sensors into a differentiated model of the surroundings through its high-powered processors. Fully equipped, the new A8 has 24 sensors:
- twelve ultrasonic sensors on the front, sides and rear,
- four 360-degree cameras on the front, rear and exterior mirrors,
- one front camera on the top edge of the windscreen,
- four mid-range radar sensors at the vehicle’s corners,
- one long-range radar sensor on the front,
- one laser scanner on the front,
- one infrared camera (night vision assist) on the front.
The laser scanner, employed by Audi for the first time in the A8, fans over an area of about 80 meters (262.5 ft) in length, with a wide aperture of 145 degrees. Within this range, the scanner detects the exact contours of objects, even in conditions of darkness. In bad weather, the windshield is automatically cleaned and heated. The special capabilities of the laser scanner and the central environmental model in the central driver assistance controller benefit the navigation system, in addition to the Audi AI systems, since the sensor data merger locates the car to within its exact lane. The driver assistance systems react to objects with even greater precision and earlier than in the predecessor model when they detect the end of a traffic backup and initiate braking, for example.
An all-time best: broad offering of driver assistance systems
With over 40 driver assistance systems, the fourth generation of the A8 scores an all-time best in the competition – from the parking space to the highway, they make driving even more comfortable, with greater confidence and safety. Audi groups the assistance systems in the three packages Tour, Park and City, with the Tour package standard in Germany. Customers opting for the Audi AI assist package plus obtain all three packages and also the Audi AI remote garage pilot.
The central system in the Tour assist package is the adaptive cruise assist (ACA). It is a progression from the adaptive cruise control (ACC) of the previous model and also integrates a lane assist function and traffic jam assist. The system keeps the new A8 within the speed range of zero to 250 km/h (155.3 mph) by accelerating and decelerating to the desired following distance and helps the driver keep within the lane through slight torque interventions in the steering. The constriction assist, a subfunction of the ADA, guides the vehicle longitudinally through construction sites and similar zones.
Combining the adaptive drive assist with the efficiency assist promotes an economical driving style. The system analyzes navigation data, Car-to-X messages and camera images, and instructs the driver as to when accelerating is appropriate. The Audi pre sense front safety system helps avoid front-end collisions and minimize the severity of their consequences. It incorporates a warning and braking function for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Tour package also includes the turn assist and collision avoidance assist. Turn assist monitors the lane of oncoming traffic when turning across it, thus helping to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle. It also detects any oncoming vehicles turning across the lane being used by the A8. It is the only model in its field of competitors to feature collision avoidance assist that also offers individual wheel braking as well as steering assistance, for more precise avoidance of obstructions. Camera-based traffic sign recognition and emergency assist, which brings the automobile to a standstill if the driver is no longer able to do so, complete the range.
The Audi AI Park assist package comprises the Audi AI (remote) parking pilot and the wide-angle 360 degree cameras that make maneuvering safer. The driver can have various views of the car’s immediate surroundings displayed on the on-board monitor, to some extent with superimposed guide lines. Maneuvering assist provides steering movements and independently applies the brakes to avert the risk of bumping into static and moving objects. To protect the alloy wheels, the Park package also includes a curb warning.
The newly developed crossing assist is part of the City assist package. If the mid-range radars (with a measuring range of about 75 meters (246.1 ft)) at the vehicle’s corners detect critical cross traffic in front of the car, the system warns the driver and makes a brake application if need be. The new A8 also alerts the driver to risks when changing lanes. The exit warning system indicates vehicles or cyclists approaching from the rear when opening the door. Light guides in the doors indicate the danger optically. The cross traffic assist rear kicks in when the new Audi A8 is reversing out of a right-angle parking space or garage way.
Another feature of the City package is the pre sense 360° safety system. It detects collision hazards all around the car and initiates targeted preventive measures – whether a full brake application, adjusting the seats or tightening the belts. If Audi AI active suspension is on board and the system registers an impending side collision with the mid-range radars, it raises the body a few centimeters on the endangered side as quick as a flash to direct the acting forces specifically to the crash-active structures. This mitigates the possible effects of the accident for the occupants.
Park assist and night vision assist are available as stand-alone options. The latter uses an infrared camera to detect pedestrians and larger wild animals at long distances in the dark and warns the driver of their presence.
All terms marked in the text are explained in detail in the technology lexicon at www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/technology-lexicon.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.