Audi autonomous driving partners with Luminar

The new feature will give the driver a complete hands-off, eyes-off automation in slow traffic.

Audi autonomous driving partners with Luminar
Audi autonomous driving partners with Luminar

Audi autonomous driving partners with Luminar

Aiming to bring fully autonomous cars to the mainstream, Audi has announced the debut of its Traffic Jam Pilot (TJP) option for its A8 flagship sedan. The new feature will give the driver a complete hands-off, eyes-off automation in slow traffic. TJP is capable of driving an A8, totally free of driver intervention, in traffic at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. Unfortunately however, TJP is not offered in the United States yet, owing to a maelstrom of legal, consumer, and infrastructure concerns.

Meanwhile, the auto-maker has announced a partnership between its Autonomous Intelligent Driving group (AID) and Silicon Valley-based company Luminar. The aim of this alliance is to further advance its autonomous vehicle development. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Munich, AID has a team of 140 people spread around the globe. Luminar is credited with producing the first Light Detection and Range (LiDAR) system, capable of making autonomous vehicles safe.

While similar in operation to radar, LiDAR relies upon pulses of infrared light rather than the radio waves upon which radar depends. Computers use the data produced by “reflections” from these pulses of light to create 3-D maps based upon the exact measurements of detected obstacles. This enables a self-driving car to “perceive” objects, find them in its database, predict how they will behave, and deal with them accordingly.

“Our aim is to work with the best brands within the industry,” said AID’s chief technology officer, Alexandre Haag. “Perception remains a bottleneck for autonomous mobility, so our aim was to find the most powerful sensors to make the task of overcoming perception worries easier. Luminar’s technology is clearly above the pack in terms of range and density, which is important for solving the most challenging problems in autonomy.”