We’ve often heard of manufacturers dreaming of ways to eliminate traffic jams. Color us skeptics, but we doubt automotive manufacturers have the key to solve this issue. We do believe they can contribute to improve the issue by using tech to help ease the flow of vehicles and that is where Audi is heading.
Audi’s Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA) project is developing technologies aimed at making traffic jams, parking difficulties and tough urban navigation a thing of the past.
AUIA’s researches were done through a partnership involving Audi’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Silicon Valley and four U.S. research universities: the University of Southern California, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at San Diego. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute also contributed to development. Audi explained research included crunching numbers through algorithms, real time data, Human Machine Interface (HMI) advanced sensors, radar detections and other innovative approaches.
Through this project, the automaker said it is developing groundbreaking innovations in predictive driving technology that would allow a car to anticipate future traffic trends and “learn” a person’s driving habits for a customized driving experience on each commute.
With an eye toward increasingly dangerous traffic patterns in the world’s biggest cities, Audi said it launched the AUIA research project to help make urban driving safer and more convenient through a number of revolutionary functions.
Those functions are said to include technology that tells the motorist the optimal time to leave for an appointment, directing them on the most efficient route to open street or garage parking and naturalistic navigation based on visual cues, driver awareness monitoring and signals on when it is safe to accomplish maneuvers to merge or change lanes on a congested highway.
Recently, AUIA was demonstrated to a select group of automotive industry and technology media in San Francisco, Calif. Representatives from the Volkswagen Group ERL and three of the partner universities offered their insights into AUIA technology followed by an exclusive drive throughout the streets of the Bay Area.
“The real-life mobility challenges presented by the streets of San Francisco provide a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how Audi Urban Intelligent Assist technology can transform a vehicle from a stylish expression of one’s self into a useful tool that can revolutionize the way a person drives,” said Mario Tippelhofer, Senior Software Engineer, ERL. “This project brings to life a connected car that essentially predicts the behavior of its driver, analyzes current and future driving conditions and creates a safer and hopefully less stressful experience for the person behind the wheel.”
Audi explained the San Francisco AUIA demonstration focused on two primary applications: Audi Centric Urban Navigation and Audi Urban Assistance. Both functions utilize traffic information from multiple on and off board sources to predict how traffic in a city flows throughout the day and combines this information with driver diagnostic data to generate a route that is comfortable, efficient and tailor-made to each driver.
Audi listed the highlights of the featured technology as follow:
Audi Driver Centric Urban Navigation
• Time-2-Start notifies drivers via their mobile devices how long it will take them to reach their destination before they leave.
• Smart Parking combines the parking habits of a driver with the availability of nearby parking spots–parking structures as well as metered street parking – to help identify parking spots in a destination area and provide navigation to that location.
• Predictive Traffic anticipates and analyzes current traffic patterns based on present and past traffic data, along with weather and event information.
• Naturalistic Guidance uses surrounding landmarks to provide detailed instructions for easy navigation (e.g. “Please turn left at the park”).
• Seamless Navigation provides walking guidance to the driver from his or her “Smart Parking” spot directly to their destination.
Audi Urban Assistance
• Merge Assist helps a driver merge on the highway by utilizing components of speed calculation and speed displayed in the instrument cluster and green LEDs on the side mirrors notify the driver it is safe to merge.
• Lane Change Assist monitors a driver’s blind spot areas as well as fast-approaching vehicles and hazardous objects in an effort to assist the driver in changing lanes on the highway. The system also analyses driver behavior to predict when the driver intends to performing a lane change. This coupled with the environmental data allows the vehicle to signal the driver when it is safe to change lanes via green LED lights on the side mirrors.
• Attention Guard provides early detection of driver distraction through countermeasures that get the attention of a driver and bring their focus back on the road.