Audi ranks as one of the leaders in the industry movement toward autonomous driving in a new study by Navigant Research. Audi, Daimler, BMW and General Motors are leading all other automakers as they move toward the goal of producing self-driven vehicles in the next few years, the study found.
“Our approach looked at the overall strategy and execution to see who’s got the best history in this area as well as who’s got the most on the drawing board now and has made announcements about what is going to be launched in the next year or two,” David Alexander, London-based senior research analyst for the market research and consulting firm based in Boulder, Colorado.
Today’s Audi vehicles already demonstrate many of the advanced driver assistance technologies that form the building blocks of what we call “piloted” driving, including Audi active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist and Audi pre sense rear, which helps drivers change lanes safely.
Among the brand’s accomplishments with more advanced piloted driving, still in development, have been the completion of a test drive by a selected group of journalists in an Audi A7 that drove more than 560 miles, largely hands-free on Interstate highways, from Silicon Valley, California, to the International Consumer Electronics Show in Law Vegas last January. A video encapsulating this event and six other milestones of Audi piloted driving can be viewed here.
Audi has predicted that the company will field a model capable of fully autonomous driving within the next few years.
Navigant ranked each of 18 original-equipment manufacturers according to a number of criteria and then, based on their scores, grouped them into ranked categories.
After the “Leaders” group of four that included Audi, Navigant ranked as “Contenders” Volvo, Ford, Toyota and Honda; as “Challengers” Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Tesla and Hyundai/Kia; and in the last group, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi.
Alexander acknowledged that Google has helped create a lot of media, public and industry interest in self-driving and has done significant development work on the concept. But Navigant didn’t include the tech giant among serious candidates for fielding its own self-driving vehicle in the next few years “because they’re not in danger of putting anything into production in that time,” he said.