One of the things that really stood out at this year’s Mondial de I’Automobile 2014 in Paris was the role technology is now playing in every aspect of the modern day motor car. On the stands, the focus often seemed to be less about what was under the bonnet and more about the infotainment system built into the dashboard.
Technology continued to be an important theme at the dozen or so new model launches I made it to (in total over 57 new cars were premiered at the event) and many cutting edge features previously seen only in the luxury car market such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are now filtering through to more affordable family saloons.
The futuristic concept vehicles also on show in Paris offer a teasing glimpse at the next generation, and of course the hot potato at the moment is motor-autonomy. Google have been in the news this week for driving some of their employees around America in their ‘driverless’ vehicle. So far they’ve managed to rack up over 700,000 miles, unfortunately the car is not much good in the snow or heavy rain (luckily they live in California). If you’ve seen a picture, you’ll know it’s not what you might call a ‘looker’ and style-wise it pales significantly next to the amazing Audi R7 concept vehicle (as seen in the video).
The Audi RS 7 is the result of some 15 years of research, and at the DTM season finale in Hockenheim this year, the car was able to complete a lap of the track without a driver (at racing speed) .
The use of Radar and GPS are the core technologies behind driverless motoring and the principle has possibilities far outreaching the race track. It’s thought that by synchronising data with other cars, ‘piloted’ driving could relieve much of the congestion on roads and assist with the smooth flowing of vehicles. Traffic lights could become a thing of the past, and cars would simply slow down and speed up automatically to avoid collisions at junctions. It might seem dangerous, but a big consideration in the development of the RS7 has been the huge safety enhancements that could be made from taking some (if not all) driving decisions away from humans.
Over time, technology is going to play an even bigger part in the way we travel and Audi are one of the manufacturers leading the way in developing new ways to make driving smarter, cleaner and more importantly, a safer experience. Whatever happens, it’s a good bet that you’ll be sat in a driverless car long before you get one of those motorised skateboards from Back to the Future.
This post is sponsored by Audi, but all thoughts are my own.
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