Driverless Audi ferries film star to festival
Film star Daniel Brühl and his girlfriend Felicitas Rombold must be two of the bravest people on the planet. You see, they’re among the first to travel in a driverless car – and they haven’t done it on some remote, deserted airfield test base, but rather in the congested confines of one of Europe’s busiest cities.
Audi laid on a long-wheelbase A8 L W12 to whisk the duo to Germany’s Berlinale Film Festival in the middle of February, marking another step on the Teutonic car company’s quest to bring ‘piloted driving’ to the masses in the coming years.
Still, it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to settle down in the back of a robotic A8 and let it take you where it will. Starting at the couple’s hotel, the Audi managed to drive directly to the Berlinale Palast in a ‘suitably smooth and stately fashion by registering prominent architectural features along the driving route’, using precise mapping and data synchronisation to ensure it knew where it was and precisely what manoeuvres it needed to make next.
And it must have been pretty unnerving for fellow Berlin drivers to look across and see the A8 L cruising along without anyone at the wheel. Oh, and the star of Rush sitting calmly in the back with his missus.
Dr Stefan Knirsch, Audi board member for Technical Development, said: “We are developing and testing our technologies for piloted driving under all conditions. We have already proven that we can have piloted cars drive safely on a race track and on the expressway. At the Berlinale, we have now mastered a complex urban traffic situation with maximum ease.”
Apparently, the piloted Audi drove as well as any good, experienced chauffeur would drive. Which is surely reason enough for human chauffeurs the world over to rise up in rebellion against such automated evil.