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Audi’s new lighting and autonomous driving tech

At the recently held 2013 International Consumer Electronic Show – CES – the people over at Audi have lifted the lid on some of their latest tech: an autonomous driving system and some rather innovative lighting features.

The autonomous technology Audi has unveiled is called ‘piloted driving’ and was designed to take control over the car’s acceleration, braking and steering functions when faced with congested traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h, thus freeing the driver to focus on other tasks.

The system builds upon Audi’s already existing adaptive cruise control technology, adding two radar sensors, a wide-angle camera, eight ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner – all of which are meant to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings in order to keep it safely on track.

Another extra feature that comes with the piloted driving system is an autonomous parking function which pretty much allows the driver to exit the vehicle in front of a garage or a tight parking spot and then he or she can have the car park itself via the key fob or a smartphone. Once the car reaches its final position, it will shut off the engine, deactivate the ignition, lock the doors and send a confirmation message to the driver.

When it comes to vehicle lighting technologies, Audi has always played a leading role, being something of a pioneer, and they are sticking to that reputation with their new features based on laser lights and OLEDs – Organic Light-Emitting Diodes.

In good visibility the tail-light technology will project a fan-shaped red line onto the road surface so as to tell the driver behind to maintain a safe travelling distance. In fog or rain, this laser beam will be projected onto the water droplets, forming the shape of a large, floating warning triangle.

As to the use of OLEDs, Audi consider that they have the potential to create a ‘swarm’ layout, with Audi engineers aiming to transform the rear of their vehicle into a continuous light surface.

The technologies that they have displayed at CES are seeing continuous research and development, we can only expect that Audi will continue to enhance the safety of their production vehicles as a result of this in the coming decade.

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