Even with a huge increase in the level of interest in autonomous cars recently, most experts still estimate that it will be quite a few years before really practical self-driving cars ever become a reality. But the German publication Auto Motor und Sport is now reporting that Audi wants to have at least some semi-autonomous features in the next generation of its A8 flagship sedan, due out in 2016. In terms of equipment, this means the addition of two radar sensors, a wide-angle camera and eight ultrasonic sensors. This along with quite a lot of software make up Audi’s Piloted Driving System, an autonomous mode which, though not quite as ambitious as Audi’s driverless assault on Pikes Peak, is sure to be appreciated by those who have it.
The system is primarily intended to be a way for the car to park itself for you. That’s pretty nice and all, but it’s hardly groundbreaking, as several such systems already exist. What the Audi system will add to mix is the ability to switch the system on while in a traffic jam or similar situation, thus allowing the driver to relax a bit, since they’re stuck anyway. Audi showed the system off at CES earlier this month, and as of right now, it handles acceleration, braking and steering at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. That’s an awfully high speed for just parking and traffic jams, but 2016 is a bit early to expect the car to do much else on its own. That’s still quite an amazing feat, however, and we’re looking forward to seeing even more practical demonstrations in the real world.