We’ve been following the development of autonomous driving vehicles closely, and usually that involves the Google self-driving car. Today Audi announced that the state of Nevada has granted the German luxury automaker a permit—only the second one issued, the first was to Google—to operate a self-driving car.
We had a chance to meet some of the engineers working on the program, at the Volkswagen Group Electronics Lab in Silicon Valley earlier this year. As part of the Volkswagen Group, Audi is able to share in the resources and technology, and is working jointly with Stanford University. Back in March when we were at the facility, engineers were still testing the autonomous driving systems; it appears testing has advanced enough for the state of Nevada to grant Audi the permit, which will allow its autonomous cars to legally test on the state’s roads. California has passed legislation allowing for testing, but only if a driver is present and able to assume control of the car at any time.
Facets of autonomous driving technology are already making their way on to cars in various forms. Many cars come with assisted cruise control systems that use radar and sensors to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. There are also lane keeping features, that will help steer the car back in to a lane if it senses the driver is veering unintentionally. Google, which has been a leader in the early stages testing, has previously said advanced autonomous car technology was only a few years off.