Volkswagen announces 'Temporary Auto Pilot' with advanced features

June 27, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
HAVE-IT (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport)

( -- Volkswagen, as part of the European wide research project HAVEit, has announced the Temporary Auto Pilot (TAP), a set of features added to a car that aids in speed control, lane-assist and crash avoidance.

Much like the highly touted driverless vehicles in the news of late, the new system from VW works by means of and cameras mounted on various parts of the exterior of a vehicle. Assistance comes via , automated braking when curves are noted (or to avoid a collision), steering assist to keep the vehicle in the proper lane, passing assistance and assistance in stop and go traffic. Unlike other vehicles in the news however, the TAP is not meant to serve as a driverless vehicle; it’s more of a guardian angel, watching over a driver and instantly correcting mistakes.

The company is quick to point out that the driver is still in control the entire time the TAP system is in use, and thus must continue to actually drive the vehicle; TAP should be thought of as more like driver extensions, they say, not as an autonomous system that can take over the driving when asked.

Critics have already suggested that the new additions might actually make a car less safe to drive, citing the fact that humans as a rule tend to focus less sharply when they don’t have complete control of things. Since its not clear yet just how much control the human will have when the TAP is engaged, these criticisms seem premature. If after all, the person continues to drive the car the entire time the TAP is engaged, and the TAP only makes itself known if and when it performs corrective actions when errors are made by the human driver, it would seem this would require the driver to continue to maintain as much control as has been the case up to now.

In any case, the test vehicle, a modified Passat, marks another giant leapt towards fully automated cars; this because it’s clear that fully intends to put such an equipped vehicle on the market in just the next few years. This stands in stark contrast to other concept cars demonstrated by others such as BMW, and Google, which still have many hurdles to overcome. The difference here is that VW’s system is comprised of off-the-shelf components and the fact that the driver continues to maintain control at all times.

In any case, it seems clear that it won’t be too long before human beings will no longer be trusted to drive themselves around.

Explore further: The car 'learns' to see and understand

More information: Volkswagen press release:

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5 / 5 (2) Jun 27, 2011
How can one not think of the Roadrunner cartoon where he paints the road lines to go off a cliff?
1 / 5 (1) Jun 27, 2011
"Since its not clear yet just how much control the human will have"
"when errors are made by the human driver"

I read these and all I could think is that the author is an alien and having trouble fitting in with us humans.
0.8 / 5 (49) Jun 27, 2011
I read these and all I could think is that the author is an alien and having trouble fitting in with us humans.

Too bad the car they adapted wasn't a Ford Prefect.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 27, 2011
a truck driver told me that big trucks hold their course good on straight stretches, and that drivers have wrecked because they put on the cruise, and got out of the driver seat and went into the back to fix a sandwich. by making passenger cars more reliably in holding their lanes, in may indeed encourage more inattention.
i wonder how this system will work in construction zones, where you can have multiple lines painted over/next to each other. if the system picks the wrong lines, it could actually cause a crash, instead of preventing one.
wonder if the system can be turned off, or if it will be always on...
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
Driving is for Droids.
2 / 5 (3) Jun 27, 2011
In any case, it seems clear that it wont be too long before human beings will no longer be trusted to drive themselves around.

I already don't trust people to drive themselves around. And I long for the day when I'm taking a long road trip, or on my daily commute to work, and I can tell my car where I'm going, and then take a little nap and let it do the driving. My opinion on this tech, though, is that it's less the state of the technology that's holding this back, and more the state of liability laws, many of which find their roots and earliest justifications from back when we were driving horses and buggies. As soon as insurance companies and vehicle operators know who has to pay if one of these things fails, I bet we'll see this tech take off.
4 / 5 (1) Jun 27, 2011
As soon as insurance companies and vehicle operators know who has to pay if one of these things fails, I bet we'll see this tech take off.

I'm in agreement. We already have planes that fly and land better that people do despite it is a lot harder to fly than drive. I can tell you I would love to have this system installed on my car.

Just something to keep me at a specific distance from the car in front of me to use drag efficiently would be great.
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
I expect fuller development of these technologies should also cancel out a couple of (or more) beers as a road hazard and render critics of such social practices apoplectic- I can hardly wait
not rated yet Jul 19, 2011
How cool. Volkswagen recently announced a new technology called 'Temporary Auto Pilot' that I think may help make their cars even safer. I wonder if this new technology would lower the cost of car insurance?

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