Back when the all-new Audi A8 was first revealed, the big news surrounding it wasn’t its superb luxury technology but its advanced semi-autonomous driving aids. Audi made big claims that the A8 would be the first Level 3 autonomous car in the world. Audi even showed it off in a Spider-Man movie. Level 3, for those who have lives, is essentially the ability for a car to drive itself under certain parameters without any driver intervention. Apparently, though, the A8 will remain stuck on Level 2.
According to a recent report from Automotive News Europe, Audi is backing out of Level 3 for the A8, citing liability and regulation issues in Europe. Audi initially planned on releasing the Level 3-equipped A8 in Europe first and then having it make its way to America. But let’s face it, that second bit was never gonna happen. We never get the good stuff (crying emoji).
However, the four-ringed brand has scrapped those plans, as it’s been too difficult to get it past most countries’ regulations. Plus, with current regulations in place, if Audi were to squeak it through, it’d be liable for damages if the car were to crash with the system engaged. After a little something called unintended acceleration from back in the ’80s (which, in Audi’s defense, was total bull-shirt), we understand the Germans wanting to play it safe. Plus, after dieselgate, I don’t think the VW Group needs anymore bad PR.
To be honest, it’s possible we may never see a Level 3 Audi, as the brand might jump right to Level 4. In fact, most brands are sort of playing the long-game now. With regulations on autonomous driving technology moving at a glacial pace, car manufacturers realize that the tech will likely evolve past Level 3 by the time regulations catch up.
Maybe this is a good thing, though. Self-driving cars don’t exist yet and teasing people with semi-self-driving, half-baked tech is only going to make things messier. Look at Tesla and its Autopilot. People have actually died while using the system, yet Elon Musk still rage-tweets nonsense about self-driving cars being right around the corner. That sort of rhetoric has proven to be dangerous, so seeing car companies take a more tempered approach is actually refreshing. Plus, the Audi A8 still kicks ass.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]