he logo of German carmaker Audi is seen on a S1 car displayed during the company's annual general meeting in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, on May 22, 2014.
Audi just lapped everyone else — including Google — in the race to get self-driving cars on the road in California.
The German automaker on Tuesday became the first to get a permit from California to test its self-driving cars. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in 2012 allowing for such testing, which requires a minimum $5 million surety bond for each experimental vehicle. The law went into effect on Tuesday. Michigan, Florida and Nevada also let automakers test self-driving cars on public roads.
In a press release, Audi noted that it has "conducted research" over tens of thousands of miles in those states plus Europe. Audi also tested its cars in California since there was no law against it at the time, an Audi representative said. Audi envisions that such self-driving cars might be available to consumers within five years.
The representative told Mash that there are two Audi self-driving cars at the company's Electronics Research Labs in Belmont, California, and plans to bring two more on the road. The rep said the vehicles don't represent any danger to other drivers on the road. "Honestly, it's very similar to cruise control," he said. "If you grab the steering wheel, it will stop." Google is also free to continue to test its self-driving cars on its campus since those are private roads.
Audi, ERL and Stanford University engineers also collaborated on the Autonomous TTS Pikes Peak car, which executed the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in Colorado in 27 minutes without a driver in the car.
“Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness,” Scott Keogh, Audi of America's president, said in a press release. “Obtaining the first permit issued by the State of California shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier.”
Audi Gets Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars in... by talkingpointsmemo
Tags: AUDI, BUSINESS