Audi Follows Google’s Lead, Gets Pass For Driverless Cars

Nevada has made Audi the first automaker allowed to operate self- driving vehicles on public roads.
This is the second license the state has issued to allow autonomous vehicle testing on the street—Google also received one last year.
Audi has strongly pushed “piloted” technology recently, in 2010 using an autonomous Audi TTS research car at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado and, since then, showing off key prototypes at auto shows around the world. Much of the technology has been developed jointly by the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University.
Piloted cars are different from the auto-pilot systems already found in luxury cars and jetliners that allow for efficient parking and landing. Executives at Audi say they envision their cars to fully handle mundane driving conditions like stop-and-go traffic and simple urban grids; owners would also be able to take the wheel for highway driving.
Later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the Volkswagen AG-owned brand will join Toyota to show off the latest in automated driving technology. Lexus will have a sensor-loaded car that combines artificial intelligence software, GPS and roof-mounted lasers to navigate streets. Audi has been vaguer about what it will show, though the automaker currently leads the growing attention for autonomous cars that has developed since Google started working
with its automatic Toyota Prius in 2009.
BMW also has an interim technology called ConnectedDrive that offers semi-autonomous driving. The company says it could be on the
road in a few years. California granted a license to Google in 2012 to operate its cars on public streets. Each car receives a special red license plate
emblazoned with the infinity sign and the letters AU, for autonomous vehicle. There is no word yet on what the Nevada plates will look like.


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