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Audi receives first autonomous driving permit issued by the State of California

Audi will be the first company to receive a newly established autonomous driving permit issued by California. A range of new regulations that govern the testing of automated driving on the state’s roads take effect today.

Audi has conducted research over tens of thousands of miles in Europe and various US states, where such testing is permitted. The research is aimed at preparing a highly automated Piloted driving system for freeway traffic conditions. Audi envisions this technology could be ready for consumer introduction within five years.

California roads are especially crucial to Audi Piloted driving testing because the state is home to the brand’s Electronics Research Lab. ERL engineers are working on a wide range of automated driving issues, including human-machine interface prompts that indicate when the human or the vehicle are handling driving functions.

Audi and ERL researchers have been involved in the pursuit of automated driving from its earliest stages. Audi, ERL and Stanford University engineers collaborated on the development of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak car, which successfully completed the challenging 12.42-mile route of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in Colorado in 27 minutes without a human in the car.

California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing in past years. But the state legislature, led by Sen. Alex Padilla, passed legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2012 to establish new guidelines for testing and eventually consumer use of technologies, such as Audi Piloted driving.

Regulations taking effect today include proof of insurance or surety bonds for manufacturers testing automated driving research cars, and permits for company-designated operators of those vehicles.

California has shown time and time again that it is a global technological leader and today marks the beginning of a new era for the auto industry. Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives. I applaud the efforts of Audi of America and others whose commitment is making this technology a reality.

—California state Senator Padilla

In 2012, Audi was the first automotive OEM to receive one of the red autonomous vehicle license plates issues by the State of Nevada. In July, with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Audi was the first automaker to demonstrate the capability of its automated driving technologies on a Tampa expressway newly designated as an autonomous and connected car test bed.



Way to go (again) California.

Autonomous driving vehicles will be one of the best way to reduce accidents, property damages, injuries and fatalities while reducing energy consumption, pollution and GHG.


You forgot to mention reducing driver stress, fatigue and other negatives of driving in congested traffic...


The Microsoft operating system, created via millions of programmer hours, has had to be rebooted how many trillion times so far during thirty-some years and what happens as autonomous driving software reboots at 70 mph to: 0 mph, 120 mph, 90 degrees left turn, .. ?


It will be difficult to fight (refuse) progress, specially when it will save and or reduce:

1. lives, injuries, property damages, reduce pollution, reduce GHG, reduce insurance cost, reduce work days loasr, reduce health care cost etc?

Tim Duncan

Road congestion will be another major win. With closer intervals, higher more consitent speeds, narrower lanes, fewer gawker/human induced slow downs, fewer wrecks, etc, etc, freeway capacity will climb enourmously without taxpayer cost or construction issues.

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