Audi First to Receive Autonomous Driving Permit from California State

A statement made by Audi of America today states that the automaker is the first to receive a new type of permit for autonomous vehicles from the state of California. New regulation coming into effect today allow the company to test on any state road, just as long as it provides a surety bond coverage of $5 million for each test vehicle.
Audi A7 Piloted Driving Concept 7 photos
Photo: Audi
Audi A7 Piloted Driving ConceptAudi A7 Piloted Driving ConceptAudi A7 Piloted Driving ConceptAudi A7 Piloted Driving ConceptAudi A7 Piloted Driving ConceptAudi A7 Piloted Driving Concept
Audi also says that it was the first to receive a Nevada autonomous driving plate in 2012, and the first to test on new Florida connected car expressway. They say California is especially important because this state is home to the rand’s Electronics Research Lab.

You'll remember them from that TTS Pipes Peak prototype that completed the famous hill clim in 27 minutes without the help of a driver. ERL is also involved with everything that has to do with the automated driving. They recently presented a special Audi A7 that could keep track of the traffic lights around you, stopping and starting the engine at optimal times.

As strange as letting go of the steering wheel and having the car do everything for you, Audi envisions this technology could be ready for consumer introduction within five years. Just imagining a 2020 commute to work seems now sounds like stepping into the role of a sci-fi movie actor.

"Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness," said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. "Obtaining the first permit issued by the State of California shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier."

Of course, Audi isn't the only company testing autonomous cars in America right now. In fact, pretty much every major car company is planning to have its buyers let go of the steering wheel by the end of this decade. California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing since 2012, but new regulation coming into play today allows access to all the roads.

“California has shown time and time again that it is a global technological leader and today marks the beginning of a new era for the auto industry. Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives. I applaud the efforts of Audi of America and others whose commitment is making this technology a reality," said Senator Alex Padilla, who passed the new guidelines.

The A7 Sportback Audi Piloted prototype features 22 different sensors, including a new type of laser scanner. Data is gathered at the central driver assistance control unit (zFAS) and use to paint a complete picture of the environment.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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