Audi’s New A8 Turns Mobility Into Magic, Using NVIDIA Tech to Transform Transportation

by Danny Shapiro

In Barcelona, a city of architectural treasures, Audi unveiled Tuesday a design masterpiece of its own.

The new flagship 2018 A8 — which is the world’s first Level 3 autonomous driving car to go into production — features a multitude of high-tech splendors, all powered by NVIDIA.

Its AI Traffic Jam Pilot — which offers unprecedented levels of autonomy on crowded highways — instantly grabbed headlines. But it was just one of many remarkable new features powered by NVIDIA technologies.

Audi has emerged as a technology leader, and the results of its leadership — from piloted driving to parking to new services for digitally connected vehicles — are at the center of the story it’s telling at the inaugural  Audi Summit here in Spain.

“The car of the future will make its occupants’ life easier with the help of artificial intelligence,” Audi Chairman of the Board Rupert Stadler said at the event’s keynote, which drew more than 2,000 guests.

“Technology matters” he declared as he introduced such A8 features as Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot, Remote Park Pilot, Natural Voice Control and Swarm Intelligence.

Audi A8 Piloted Driving Technology Causes Global Sensation

The new Audi A8’s cockpit is packed with advanced NVIDIA-powered technology.

The A8 is packed with NVIDIA powered systems, including revolutionary new user interfaces, a new infotainment system, a new virtual cockpit, and new rear seat entertainment options.

Of particular note was Audi’s Zfas driver assistance system. It powers the world’s first true traffic jam assist system, for use on divided highways with on ramps and off ramps.

The Traffic Jam Pilot is designed from the ground up with built-in redundancy. The world’s first production system to use a laser scanner combined with cameras to drive autonomously, it scans the entire area in front of the car. Data from sensors are processed in Zfas as the system creates a precise environment model at the rate of 2.5 billion inputs per second.

Audi A8: A Car That Becomes a Chauffeur

The Audi A8’s full suite of NVIDIA-powered advanced technologies includes new autonomous driving capabilities.

At speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour, Traffic Jam Pilot can be enabled, turning the car into a chauffeur. Sensors watching the surroundings to give a precise understanding of the environment, and are coupled with the navigation system that knows on which roads the system is enabled.

To engage the system, the driver simply presses the AUDI AI button on the center console. Once traffic dissipates, visual and auditory alerts prompt the driver to take control again.

An Entertaining Companion

Audi also puts NVIDIA-powered technologies at the fingertips of the A8’s passengers.

In addition to taking the drudgery out of traffic jams, the A8 features the newest NVIDIA powered MIB+ infotainment system. Its two touch screens, second-generation virtual cockpit and the new rear seat system with Audi tablets and display controller all feature NVIDIA technology.

Audi’s story doesn’t end with the A8. Throughout the Audi Summit Hall in Barcelona, visitors experienced concepts, exhibits and talks on the subjects of mobility, AI and the smart factory of the future. Exhibits explore how modular car production can be more efficient without assembly lines, how people can work together with machines to improve manufacturing productivity, as well as how cars can be digitally configured and tried out virtually.

The message is clear: Audi is applying digital technologies throughout its business operations – from production and logistics to sales and marketing to unleash new possibilities — and the results, as seen in the A8, are already remarkable.