Audi plans next-level tech for smarter driving

Apr 19, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog
Credit: via The Register

( —Audi, along with several U.S. universities, has been studying what contributes to road accidents, what can avert accidents, and the right technology systems that can keep drivers on track. According to reports, the driver team members working on next-generation technology for drivers studied accident statistics in numerous categories in working out their solution. Audi is talking about its system that combines hardware and software for better driving results. The solution is tagged Audi Urban Intelligent Assist. Key features include predictive data and a more human-based type of GPS navigation that draws on landmarks. Information on the system was made known recently at the GPU Technology Conference in March. Audi engineers are testing the system features, according to The Register.

Audi's system could be of benefit particularly for those behind the wheel who cope with the daily stress of driving in urban areas, constantly needing to avert other bad drivers and constantly needing to maintain ample focus. The Urban Intelligent Assist initiative involves automated information such as (1) "predictive" ; (2) guidance where a database is populated with landmarks that can make it easy for drivers to find what they are looking for; (3) smart parking information which tells what spots are available and what each parking option costs; and (4) Driver Attention Guard.

Audi's predictive traffic feature looks at past traffic records, current conditions, and future outlooks. The feature also takes into account special events such as sports games that might bring the driver into traffic tie-ups. A "Naturalistic Guidance" features uses surrounding landmarks to ease the hassle of navigation, such as a prompt to turn left by the . The Driver Attention Guard function uses cameras to track the driver's head and . If the system detects an inattentive driver, the system might swing into so that the car does not slam into the car ahead or mistakenly speed up. The driver also would get some type of alert reminder to pay closer attention to the road.

Besides Audi, those participating in the project are university research teams in California and Michigan. The schools are University of Southern California, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Audi's program notes for the GPU session said that the goal of this research initiative is "to showcase different technologies and approaches to make the challenges of navigating the chaotic roadways of the world's megacities less stressful, safer and more efficient a generation from now. This is mainly achieved through advancements in predictive technology, by harnessing the power of Big Data through algorithms, real time data, Human Machine Interfaces (HMI), advanced sensors and other innovative approaches. The AUIA project is the latest in a series of university collaborations that Audi has formed to explore the frontiers of automotive technologies and electronics."

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