Volkswagen Demonstrates Driverless Technology

Volkswagen Temporary Auto Pilot
Volkswagen has debuted a new convenience feature that would allow vehicles to drive by themselves at speeds of up to 80 mph.

The system, called “Temporary Auto Pilot,” allows the car to drive autonomously on highways or in stop-and-go city traffic. The system uses multiple ultrasonic and radar-based sensors, laser scanners, video cameras and an electronic horizon to allow the car to survey and react to road conditions by itself.

TAP maintains a predefined distance between you and the car ahead while maintaining a selected speed, which is much like many adaptive cruise control systems do today. The system also keeps the vehicle centered between lane markers and can overtake other vehicles and change speed limits depending on the observed laws of the road.

VW points out that TAP is supposed to act only as a second pair of eyes on the road in case of driver distraction or fatigue. Volkswagen foresees the technology being useful during monotonous driving situations like heavy stop-and-go city traffic or over long expanses of highway commuting. Ultimately, VW says the driver still needs to monitor the actions of TAP while the car is in motion.

Unlike other research vehicles, like Google’s driverless car or vehicles from the DARPA challenges, Volkswagen says its system is nearly production ready.

By Colin Bird | June 24, 2011 | Comments (14)

Comments 

Juan

Though the convenience can not be understated, this is incredible! But I can imagine seeing people setting the car on automatic and feel that they have the right to Text, apply makeup, watch TV, sleep or seeing an underage driver order the car to take them to the park ... yikes!

Blu-ray

@Juan -- All that happens now. I see people texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, watching TV. Have you not seen articles where underage drivers take their parents keys to the car and go joy riding?

John

This is some awesome technology! I am looking at some used cars for sale charlotte and wish I could find a car with that feature. Then again, when should I ever be driving at 80 mph XD

Amuro Ray

This technology, though amazing, is nothing new per se. As far as I can remember, various companies have demo'ed driverless vehicles since...80's?

Other types of "vehicles" don't need driver any more - train, airplanes (incl. commercial ones, esp during take off and landing), small shuttles/buses boats/submarines...

The only "thing" that's stopping automobiles to implement this technology is..."us." We don't want safety to suppress our "feeling of excitement" any time ;)

keith

i will be laughing when car drives off cliff. you will never catch me riding in a auto driven car they cant even make a laptop that is maintenance free. driver not paying attention system rebooting car flies off cliff.

Bob

Dumb,Dumb,Dumb and probably availalble only on their most expensive cars.

A pointless endeavour if ever there was one!

Phil

I was sincerely hoping this was from the onion.

Jan

I would never allow a car to 'drive me'. If this became mainstream, and most or all vehicles were 'autodrive', who is to say some havoc-wrecker wouldn't intercept the signals & you have a 1,000 car pile up that takes days to clear? What about all the truckers that would be out of jobs? Stupid move VW. As a trucker this is very scary to me... in more ways than 1

Tj

I think this is great but if we are going to go in this direction lets go all the way into what I would call a personalized mass transit system where all vehicles are part of a completely automated and super efficient system.

ANON

I test drove parts of this system and it was pretty amazing. At the time I was a driver there were some bugs to work out, but overall it was pretty darn nice. You do still have to pay attention, but you could relax in heavy traffic (rush hour) and not have to deal with the stop and go at 5 or 10 mph. Mine only had the adaptive cruise down to 5mph with braking and accelerating that allowed the gap between cars to open and close depending on relative speed, emergency braking and lane sensing tech, no steering and no road conditions sensors. I think we will see it in the next 20 years, but not yet ready for prime time. Think how often you lose GPS signal or drop a phone call or re-boot a computer. All those technologies need to be 99.999999999% reliable of the roadways would be so full of crashes you would not be able to move on a public highway.

Jan

I am afraid of technology and change.

Yags

This is awesome! I can't wait for it to be in production. Like Blu-Ray said, people already can't resist distraction. These kind of systems allow people to go right ahead and indulge in it, while probably driving better than the person was to begin with. I look forward to the safe robot driven roads of the future

T

This will be great once all vehicles have this technology and there are lanes that are specifically for autodrive. Until then, it is the human error by other drivers that will cause most of the accidents. A machine can only act in a way that seems the most logical. Unfortunatley how should it react on a two lane highway when a driver has fallen asleep and is crossing into your lane or driving down the center of the highway. Does it go off the road to avoid a collision and end up going off a cliff? These are decisions a computer can't make.

T

I would however still ride in one. I think that these technologies in addition to my abilities behind the whel only make driving safer. Adaptive cruise is really cool technology as are these others. People are bound to make mistakes and if this can help to limit driver error than I say great!

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