Audi's self-driving car navigates hotel parking garage at CES

By on January 9, 2013, 2:30 PM

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.

User Comments: 8

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

Freaking amazing! James bond type of stuff. Hopefully they get it together.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Hey maybe if we all drive cars like this the DUI law will be abolished.

avoidz avoidz said:

It would have to be a flawless system. I think it is decades away from being commonplace.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I think driving cars like this is also decades away. I was just kidding in my previous post.

Guest said:

Like people that might get a DUI will be able to afford this car. Getting a DUI shows some type of immaturity.

Arris Arris said:

"The car was able to drive without a human driver by relying on a series of laser scanners strategically positioned throughout the parking garage."

So if you want to park anywhere new you have to run ahead of the car and install lasers :P

Not really a very complete solution for self driven vehicles.

Guest said:

What would happen if 2 self driving cars were trying to back up and they each sensed each other, how would they resolve to figure out which one would go first?

Guest said:

I have to be honest this is not really that impressive. The same technology has been used in the automation industry for years now.

I was installing production lines with fully automated FLT's (Fork Lift Trucks) using exactly the same system 10 years ago and I am sure they have been in the car industry for much longer.

They have basically taken the technology they already use to automate their plant equipment (ie material delivery to manufacturing points etc) and thrown it into an expensive car.

As said above, this system in reality (at the moment anway) is impractical anywhere outside a building/area with the correct sensors.

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