An Audi Q7 which used AI technology to learn how to drive itself in just four days is currently being demoed at CES.
CES 2017, currently underway at Las Vegas, is giving us a glimpse at the future of automotive technology, so it’s unsurprising that self-driving cars are a central talking point. In a new development, technology giant Nvidia has announced it is joining forces with long-time partner Audi to bring a self-driving car to the market by 2020. The partnership will see the companies collaborating to produce a “Level 4” autonomous car which can drive entirely on its own without supervision.
As a proof of concept, an experimental self-driving Q7 SUV has been produced and shown off at CES 2017. Using its artificial technology, Nvidia said that the Q7 learned to drive itself in just four days and could navigate a complex course without a driver behind the wheel. In every mile it racks up, the Q7 learns from the driver and the road, and can handle unpredictable situations such as roadblocks, construction and changes in weather. Tesla has previously said it plans to bring a Level 4 self-driving car to the market, but unlike Audi it hasn’t placed a time frame on doing so.
“Audi drivers know the pinnacle of performance and technology,’’ said Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America. “In our mutual pursuit for safer roads, the partnership between Audi and Nvidia will expand to deep learning and artificial intelligence to bring higher automation into production more quickly.” “Nvidia is pioneering the use of deep learning AI to revolutionize transportation,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, Founder and CEO of Nvidia. “Audi's adoption of our DRIVE computing platform will accelerate the introduction of next-generation automated vehicles, moving us closer to a future of greater driving safety and new mobility services."
Audi will also be bringing the world’s first Level 3 autonomous car in the form of the next generation Audi S8 featuring Traffic Jam Pilot, which uses a central driver assistance controller developed by Nvidia to allow the car to take over control of the brakes, throttle and steering at speeds up to 35 mph. Unlike Level 4 autonomy, cars that meet Level 3 standards still require a driver at the wheel. Calling it a world first is perhaps a bold claim since Tesla already offers Level 3 autonomy with its Autopilot software, but Audi’s collaboration with Nvidia is undoubtedly a key development in bringing fully self-driving cars to the masses.