Self-driving cars, the future is here!

Audi self-driving car prototype

Audi’s self-driving car prototype

Science fiction keeps getting closer to reality as the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keeps unveiling recent inventions and high-end tech products. Now, it has been Audi’s turn for showing the audience its most recent upgrade: A book-sized computer capable of driving an automobile. Yes, self-driving cars are here!

Wait, what?

Called zFAS, the piloted driving circuit board represents a noteworthy advance in automation technology since it is compact enough to fit into existing vehicles without affecting or compromising their design. As different Audi vehicles equipped with the zFAS drove themselves onto the CES stage, the introduction of the new generation of automobiles amazed the audience. “At CES one year ago, the trunk of the demo cars was still full of cables and electronics. The prototype period is almost over. Now it’s time to get ready for serious production,” Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s chief technical officer, said.

In contrast to Google’s Lexus SUVs, the best known self-driving car featuring a big laser scanner visible on top, Audi’s automation technology was enhanced skillfully and discretely: The video cameras, laser scanner, long and mid-radar system and diverse ultrasonic distance sensors on the sides and front of the vehicle are small enough to be hidden from view. Hackenberg explained that the magic behind the fancy design was courtesy of Nvidia, the chipmaker which helped the automobile firm on shrinking the piloted driving circuit board, which is powered by two Nvidia processors commonly used in tablet computers.

When can I get it?

Apart from disclosing that the futuristic vehicle could park and drive in traffic on its own, no further details were provided on the capabilities of the piloted driving circuit board enabled car or when it will be available commercially. Rupert Stadler, Audi chairman, said that users will routinely let their automobiles do the driving for them in the future, and a promotional video supported his statement by showing a chauffeur sat in the passenger seat while the automation technology allowed the vehicle to do the driving. “Today we see a period of major changes, in which we are moving from refining the automobile to redefining mobility,” he said.

The German automobile manufacturer also announced partnerships with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm and Google. While the first will be providing 4G LTE wireless chips for some Audi automobiles, the latter will participate in the development of a car-centric edition of the Android mobile OS, which according to Stadler, has already been bearing fruit in a new interface for a forthcoming concept car that will customize itself to each driver.

Laura Gomez

Recent Posts

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet set to cover the globe soon

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet set to cover the globe soon

Starlink, the satellite internet unit of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will most likely be able to provide global coverage by September, according to the company’s president Gwynne S
12 hours ago
At the next Krispy Kreme IPO, the donut maker aims to raise nearly $4 billion

At the next Krispy Kreme IPO, the donut maker aims to raise nearly $4 billion

Krispy Kreme, the popular donut chain, aims raise roughly $4 billion as it makes one of the biggest IPO debuts at the NYSE.
13 hours ago
Panasonic hopes Blue Yonder acquisition will improve its software woes

Panasonic hopes Blue Yonder acquisition will improve its software woes

Most Japanese major companies, which at one time were leaders in consumer electronics, are struggling to find their feet in a world that has moved to digital software. Electronics
1 day ago
Ikea and Rockefeller Foundations to raise $10 billion for renewable energy projects in poor countries

Ikea and Rockefeller Foundations to raise $10 billion for renewable energy projects in poor countries

The Ikea and Rockefeller foundations are jointly launching a $10 billion fund to promote small-scale renewable power projects in developing nations. Both
2 days ago
EC initiates another probe into Google’s adtech practices

EC initiates another probe into Google’s adtech practices

EU antitrust regulators are planning a formal investigation into Google’s digital advertising practices by the end of this year. Google is already facing unprecedented regulatory
3 days ago
Some Microsoft employees stayed at data centers during Pandemic to keep all systems going

Some Microsoft employees stayed at data centers during Pandemic to keep all systems going

The Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world for more than a year has forced companies and organizations to find viable solutions to keep the business going. Most found a solution in w
3 days ago