Media reported that Audi has just opened an office in Silicon Valley, aimed at developing advanced driver assistance systems for the U.S. market. The company has set up a self-driving (A2D2) research and development lab in San Jose, with an initial workforce of about 60 employees. It will focus on new software that is flexible and fast-developable, and collaborate with nearby interested start-ups in production and applications.
Infographic (from: Audi)
It is reported that the new research and development office will focus on the development of L2-level systems. According to the five levels defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), L2 means that the main functions are automated, but there is always a need for manual intervention.
The L4 means that the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving without human intervention, which is where companies such as Argo AI, Aurora, Cruise, Waymo and others are working.
As for the highest L5, it is a long-term goal of the industry, meaning that self-driving cars can handle all environmental and conditions of driving needs.
Previously, Audi has developed an L3-class automation system called Traffic Jam Pilot and plans to adopt it for the first time on the A8 in 2017.
In theory, Traffic Jam Pilot would allow the car to handle things like the car on its own without having the driver keep his eyes on the road. Unfortunately, Audi cancelled the project in May after several delays.
The company said in an interview that the project had not been put into commercial use because of a lack of legal guidance and concerns about liability raised by the new technology.
Now, Audi has turned its attention and investment to a premium driver assistance system that is more suitable for passenger cars. The company said the A2D2 will be the first ADAS hardware and software office developed specifically for road and driving behavior in North America.