First Self-driving Cars

Michael Tchong Innovation

There has been much speculation as to when mass-produced, self-driving cars would arrive. According to Quora, the consensus is 2020. You can move that needle back two years because both Audi and Tesla are vying to be the first to launch automobiles that can legitimately be called self-driving cars.

Audi will launch a new A8 in late fall 2017 that it claims will be the first production vehicle with level 3 autonomy. Audi’s “AI traffic jam pilot” can drive all by itself at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 kph). Audi says the 2018 A8 ($100,000+) is the first car to use a LIDAR laser scanner. The AI system handles acceleration, braking, steering and starting from a dead-stop, all without a driver paying attention, but only on roads with a physical barrier separating oncoming traffic.

Tesla’s second-generation, eight-camera “Enhance Autopilot” system ($8,000) will reportedly make Tesla cars fully autonomous by December. Both are eagerly awaited. BI Intelligence reports that 64% of study respondents are “much more” or “somewhat more interested” in a car with self-driving features.

Audi AG • Ingolstadt • Germany
Tesla Motors Inc. • 3500 Deer Creek Rd. • Palo Alto, CA 94304