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Jammin' in the rush hour with the next Audi A8's self-driving tech

Audi aims to be first to market with true Level 3 autonomy. We try it out in Germany and see if it's worth looking for in America.

skype-headshot
Chris Paukert
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Audi expects to offer the first production car with Level 3 autonomy.

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Traffic Jam Pilot will let you know when it's ready to rock based on what the backlight color is of this button.

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Audi's Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster gets new Traffic Jam Assist-specific screens and alerts. Information is greatly simplified when the system is active, but you can still use the steering wheel controls to access whatever function you like.

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Traffic Jam Pilot is activated, and your author is keeping his hands and feet to himself.

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That's the world's first production lidar sensor, just below the license plate.

Audi A8's zFAS computer
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Audi's new zFAS controller is the heart of the A8's self-driving capability. Normally, it's mounted discreetly under the driver's seat. In this case, it's in a lighted display.

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Audi engineer Daniel Lepczyk worked to perfect Traffic Jam Pilot's HMI.

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Traffic Jam Pilot works at speeds of up to 60 kph -- that's 37 mph.

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The A8 is Audi's range-topping sedan, and with this new hardware, rejoins the fight against BMW's 7 Series, Lexus' LS and Mercedes-Benz's S-Class, among others.

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An elaborately progressive series of alarms, including visual, audible and physical cues accompany TJP's bid to get the driver to retake control.

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Traffic Jam Pilot keeps the car centered in lane, although it can skew to one side to let emergency vehicles through, too.

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Audi has done a good job of hiding the A8's self-driving hardware. It looks utterly ordinary.

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Keep clicking or swiping through to see more images of Audi's 2019 A8 prototype.

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