Audi tests driverless car on Florida expressway

The automaker expects to begin selling self-driving cars within five years

Audi this week tested a self-driving car on a Tampa expressway that had been recently designated as an automated driving and connected car test bed.

The car manufacturer demonstrated how its "Piloted" driving technology installed in an Audi A7 was able to handle driving functions on freeway conditions up to 40 mph.

Audi A7
The Audi A7 with "Piloted" autonomous technology being test driven in Florida (image: Audi).

Audi plans to begin offering the initial version of Piloted driving - called Traffic Jam Pilot - to the public within five years.

The ability to conduct research in the real-world conditions offered by Florida and the Expressway Authority is crucial to pre-production development, Audi said in a statement.

Audi A7
Piloted driving indicator light in the enabled A7 (image: Audi).

In 2012, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill that allowed the testing of autonomous vehicles in the state, making Florida one of only three states where autonomous vehicles can be piloted on some designated roads. Tampa's Selmon Expressway, where the Audi A7 was piloted, was recently designated as an autonomous driving technology test bed.

California and Nevada have also passed legislation to allow self-driving vehicle testing on roadways.

Audi A7
The Traffic Jam Pilot CPU unit in the enabled A7 (image: Audi)

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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