While many people still consider the idea of self-driving cars to be something out of science fiction and a thing of the future, the reality is that the technology is actually already here, and various companies have been spending a lot of time and resources perfecting it and getting it ready for the consumer market. Of course, Google are the best known name in this area and they’re the ones that keep getting mentioned – but they’re far from the only company working on bringing self-driving cars to the market.
Audi’s A7 is one of the most prominent recent examples, and the car is showing very promising results in its tests on public roads. Of course it still has to be perfected in some ways, but even in its current stage it’s already quite impressive and clearly shows that this is the way things should work in the future.
Audi have been hard at work testing their new self-driving carand all of its special capabilities, and it’s already been roaming the German autobahns tirelessly, testing its features and collecting important data for the company’s engineers. And best of all, Audi have some brave predictions for the arrival of the car to the market – according to them, it should be ready in no more than two years.
The current implementation of the technology still requires some manual input from the user, at least in the beginning – getting the car on theautobahn is the tricky part, and from then on the car can take over and handle itself. It prompts the user to enable auto control, and if the driveraccepts that by pressing two buttons on the steering wheel, the car goes into self-driving mode and starts applying all important operations on its own.
It can accelerate, brake and steer, and it can maintain its position on the road pretty much flawlessly – and needless to say, the car actually shows better performance than a regular human driver when inserted into a standard flow of traffic. Of course, it remains to be seen how well it will perform in an actual urban environment surrounded by cars driving unpredictably, but that’s the biggest challenge all developers of similar technology will have to face.
In the end though, the most prominent companies that work in this area are moving forward quite fast and have been developing their technology at amazing paces. Pretty soon we should start seeing talks about consumer models popping up in the news, and before we know it, driving one’s car manually will be a thing of the past.