Audi Plans to Take Over the Wheel in Stop-and-Go Driving

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By Christoph Rauwald

Audi, the world’s second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, will roll out technology to enable autonomous driving in urban traffic, joining companies promoting features to ease the strain of operating a car.

Audi’s self-driving system takes over steering, braking and accelerating in stop-and-go traffic and operates at speeds up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour, Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said yesterday in a speech at the Frankfurt School of Finance. The system will be available “very soon,” he said, without providing details.

The commitment from the Volkswagen AG unit comes two days after General Motors  announced it will introduce a Cadillac model in two years that can travel on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel or putting a foot on the gas pedal. Automakers including Daimler  have been working on autonomous driving systems as well in a bid to make the car safer and easier to use.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan offers a so-called stop-and-go autopilot. Backed by an array of 12 ultrasonic detectors, five cameras and six radar sensors, the car can match the speed of the vehicle in front of it, even coming to a complete stop and steering to stay in the lane.

Audi is introducing 17 new or revamped models in 2014 and will move forward with the production of an electric version of the R8 sports car in a push to overtake Bayerische Motoren Werke as the biggest luxury-carmaker.
Record Sales

Volkswagen’s largest earnings contributor expects revenue to rise slightly this year on higher deliveries. Strotbek reaffirmed that the brand’s global deliveries are set to exceed 1.7 million cars for the first time this year, up from 1.58 million in 2013.

Audi will invest €22 billion ($28 billion) in the next five years, with 70 percent going toward new products and technology. The Ingolstadt, Germany-based carmaker tested self-driving technology on a highway in Florida last month, Strotbek said.