Audi uses the term “Audi AI” to describe its autonomous and driver-assist technologies, which extend from sophisticated assistance systems up to fully-self-driving vehicles. These are based on the carmaker’s new zFAS centralized computer core for driver assistance systems. The new Audi A8 will debut zFAS plus three of those Audi AI technologies: the Audi AI traffic jam pilot (the first Level 3 autonomous traffic jam feature on the market); the Audi AI (remote) parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot.
Traffic Jam Pilot
The traffic jam pilot is Audi’s system working at an autonomous level 3, which means it’s a driver-assistance system that is largely self-contained, requiring minimal driver input. Most vehicles with adaptive cruise control systems which keep a following distance by detecting vehicles ahead are level 2 systems. With Audi’s traffic jam pilot, that is moved to a next level and does not require continual input from the driver.
Instead, the driver activates the traffic jam pilot with the AI button on the A8’s center console. When a highway with a barrier between traffic directions (e.g. a median or physical fence) the system can take over and drive the car at speeds up to 37.3 mph (60 km/h) in traffic jam-type (nose-to-tail) situations. Traffic jam pilot manages starts, stops, acceleration, and so forth. It can also handle emergency situations such as vehicles cutting in front.
When traffic jam pilot is engaged, the driver can take hands off the wheel and relax. When the Audi requires the driver to take over again, audible and visual alerts will activate and disengage when the driver’s hands are back on the wheel. Ignoring those prompts will cause the Audi to stop entirely.
Remote Parking Pilot
With remote parking pilot, the Audi A8 can drive independently without a driver to park in parallel or perpendicular spaces. It can also forward itself into a garage. The maneuver is started from the myAudi app on the user’s smartphone. Active driver participation via a button hold is required and the driver is expected to monitor the car’s maneuvers via the 360-degree camera view given on the smartphone’s screen. Once parked, the car will engage the transmission into Park and set the parking brake automatically. Active driver control via remote through the phone is also possible.
The driver can also reverse the process by alerting the vehicle via smartphone. The car will then exit from its parking space in a process reversing the parking process. The self-parking and de-parking can be done with the driver in the car as well.
With Audi’s garage pilot, the process is similar to the parking pilot procedure, but requires the driver control the vehicle via remote to make the park. This is meant for a home garage or regular parking space that is not easily identified by the car’s computer, such as a carport or driveway. Once programmed, the Audi A8 will remember the procedure and it can be automated from there on as with the parking pilot system.