When engineers are completing some of their ideas, it is common to build a small scale model. German executive car manufacturer Audi is showing how brand‘s cars will be able to find a parking spot autonomously in the future with a 1:8 scale model car – the “Audi Q2 deep learning concept”.
In fact, this tiny car is meant to showcase Audi’s artificial intelligence technology – this Audi Q2 model is able to learn. Of course, it also has some impressive sensor technology – it is equipped with two mono cameras, facing forward and toward the rear, and a number of ultrasonic sensors positioned at points all around the little Q2. There is a central computer, which uses information from the sensors and adjusts steering and power of electric motor accordingly.
In short, all this hardware and artificial intelligence technology allows the car to drive around a small scale parking lot, find a free spot and park there. However, the smartest part is that the car is able to learn from its own mistakes. At first this tiny Q2 drives through the area randomly looking for a parking lot. But a complex algorithm is evaluating successful and unsuccessful actions and later car can autonomously tackle even the hardest of parking tasks. This model car adjusts itself in the parking spot to perfection – it goes forward and back until it is satisfied with its parking job.
Of course, this system is just a very expensive toy in this stage. However, Audi has some real plans of implementing it in real cars as well. In fact, autonomous parking may come to the market even before the fully autonomous driving experience is available. Audi says that dealing with heavy traffic and parking job is something humans should not have to do – no one likes it anyway. The updated Audi A8, coming in 2017, will already have this autonomous parking system, integrated in the central driver assistance controller (zFAS). So it should not take long for it to spread throughout brand’s model range.
Audi is one of the leaders in autonomous driving technology development. It is clear that it is extremely important for the brand. Therefore, now we have to wait and see what future will bring for it and how this new system will be received by drivers and automotive journalists.