Audi has scooped up the first autonomous vehicle permit in the state of California. That doesn’t mean that you will see fully-autonomous models at Audi dealers throughout California right now, because the permit just allows the automaker to test out its vehicles on roadways throughout the state. Such research has been conducted in other states and throughout Europe.
So far, Audi is concentrating tis autonomous vehicle technology on freeway driving. As we all learned in the movie iRobot, trying to drive an Audi on the freeway by yourself is an incredibly bad idea. Right now, Audi’s engineer think they will have a market-ready autonomous vehicle within five years, which aligns with the timetable announced by at least a few other car companies.
The new permit in California is a big deal for Audi since it has an Electronics Research Lab located there. Engineers at the facility are working on creating autonomous vehicle systems that automatically accommodates human intervention. That’s good news for anyone who fears the Google autonomous car, which doesn’t even come with a steering wheel or controls, taking the human driver completely out of the act of driving.
Instead of being restricted to only certain stretches of roads in California, Audi can now conduct test anywhere. Considering the wide variety of roads in the state, from winding mountain pathways, to crowded urban thoroughfares, and long stretches in desolate areas, such conditions will help truly test the abilities of autonomous cars.
At the very least, autonomous Audis in California won’t create senseless congestion on the freeway, which should give residents there a tremendous hope for a brighter future.