Audi demonstrated a self-driving car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that is capable of driving itself to and from a parking space all by pressing a button in a smartphone app. The car looks like any other luxury vehicle on the outside, unlike a Google-modified Prius, so how exactly does it work and will this revolutionize transportation as we know it today?
The Verge was recently on hand to witness a live demo from Audi. The car exited from a parking space in the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s parking garage, traversed though roughly 150 feet of twists and turns and ended up at the front door of the hotel. So once again, what’s the catch?
Well unlike Google’s solution or even the vehicle that Lexus introduced the day before, this is more of a proof of concept that this point. The car was able to drive without a human driver by relying on a series of laser scanners strategically positioned throughout the parking garage. These communicate with the vehicle over Wi-Fi, ensuring that it doesn’t stray off course or bump into any obstructions on its journey to and from the parking spot.
That journey, of course, is going to take some time. The demo car moved through the predetermined course at around 5 MPH so don’t expect to set any land speed records here. And of course, the technology will only work in locations that have been fixed with the aforementioned laser scanners. Otherwise, it’s up to you to park your car the old fashioned way.
Simply put, Audi still has a long way to go before something like this can be implemented in the real world where things like pedestrians and weather conditions must be accounted for. Either way, it’s pretty cool to think that we will eventually have self driving vehicles someday.