Audi gets serious about self-driving vehicles.
Now that all-electric models like the Audi e-tron GT and e-tron SUVs have been launched, the German luxury and technology brand is shifting some focus towards an even more challenging goal: self-driving cars. Rivals such as Tesla are investing significant amounts of time and money in this realm and Audi has no intention of falling behind. But safety remains a touchy subject for autonomous cars.
That's why Audi, along with the Group's Cariad software division and a British semiconductor company called Arm, are the first partners of a so-called "safe software" working group dedicated solely to - you guessed it - safety.
Automotive News Europe has confirmed the new group has been established within an organization called The Autonomous whose aim is to have safe self-driving vehicles everywhere. The three companies have already decided they want to develop a safe system architecture for autonomous vehicles that'll include core elements like sub-systems consisting of sensors and actuators, and so-called "fault containment units" engineered to guarantee the safe operation of driverless cars.
Additional multi-national technology companies specializing in things like semiconductors and autonomous driving software are also taking part. What's interesting is that group members, including Audi, want to see other companies later use the recommendations, specifications, and best vehicle practices they plan to come up with.
Essentially, there are currently no concrete international safety guidelines for the budding new field of full autonomy. Audi's presence in the development group will grant it influence, thereby placing it in a stronger position to help dictate guidelines. Having a place at the table is important because it has lots of in-house technologies.
Tesla, by contrast, seems to prefer a more go-at-it-alone approach in numerous arenas, though this could come back to haunt it. Audi has been tasked within the VW Group as the technology powerhouse and systems in various stages of development will eventually trickle down to other brands, including Porsche and the namesake Volkswagen.