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Autonomous driving - practical test

The Audi A8, which will be launched on the market in autumn 2017, will be the first production vehicle in the world to be equipped with Level 3 automation. The AudiAI traffic jam pilot (AI = Artificial Intelligence) can take over the driving task in certain situations - in the A8 up to a speed of 60 km / h. The driver does not have to constantly monitor the driving, but he must be able to take responsibility when the system requests it. At the moment, this level of autonomous driving is not yet permitted on German roads, which is why the Audi traffic jam pilot is being brought into series production step by step.


Statutory Regulations

According to a draft law, motor vehicles with a highly or fully automated driving function have recently been permitted “within the scope of their intended use”. There will soon be vehicles on German roads that can take control of driving in certain situations. The prerequisite for this is that the vehicle driver can immediately resume control of the vehicle at any time. Once the highly and fully automated driving function has taken control of the car, the driver can turn away from the traffic. Should he be asked to do so by the system, he must be able to take control again at any time. This draft law regulates level 3 of autonomous driving.

Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90

Semi-autonomous driving - our long-distance test over 800 km in the Volvo XC 90

As part of our tour to the Moselsteig Trail, we tested the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Plug-in Hybrid intensively over a long distance of 2.500 kilometers. As an alternative to classic motorhomes, large-format SUVs with good storage space are often used as travel vehicles. The Volvo XC90 is definitely the right choice for this: whether as a small team transporter with up to 7 seats for team sports or as a large-format touring limousine for summer holidays.

Driving modes and assistance systems

The touring SUV is equipped with a system output of 407 hp (299 kW) and a Geartronic 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2.319 kg touring sedan is amazingly agile and accelerates from 6 to 0 km / h in less than 100 seconds. Powerful and with noticeable body movements, it accelerates the car robustly across the streets, especially in the speed range between 2.000 and 5.000 rpm in hybrid mode. In wet road conditions, you notice that the propulsion is completely sent to the front axle. Here, however, you can switch directly to all-wheel drive via the touch display, which is a significant relief, especially when aquaplaning.
A total of 6 different drive modes can be selected using the rotary knob in the center console: from the fuel-saving pure mode to an off-road mode for off-road use. If you want to put together your package even more individually, you can save it in your own menu item. Our test led on the Moselle via serpentine-like access roads to the individual communities up to the high-speed routes on the three-lane A7. In all cases, the driving behavior can be adapted to the road conditions using the selected mode. The selection is operated via a large-format monitor in the center console as a touch display.

Semi-autonomous driving

There is currently a lot of discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of autonomous driving systems. There are many questions to be answered with regard to the dangerous situations. On the way back from the Moselle, we then intensively tested semi-autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control including lane control over 800 kilometers of motorway. Once you have adjusted to letting the car make the decision about braking and acceleration processes, the driver can concentrate on observing the road surface and possible collision hazards and leave control of the steering wheel to the system. The braking processes worked perfectly over the entire route, regardless of whether a truck or a narrow motorcycle served as the lead vehicle. The acceleration processes can only be clearly felt when the road is clear. When driving into a traffic jam, the driver likes to press the brake pedal as a safety factor - a very natural protective function. After more than 8 hours of driving with breaks, the driver leaves the vehicle much more relaxed than if all braking and acceleration processes were carried out manually.


Source: Article from the green car magazine issue V / 2017

Copyright cover picture fotohansel @


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N. Hawthorn
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