Audi hopes to have self-driving cars on the road by second half of the decade

Audi has said that it hopes the authorities will permit its self-driving cars for use on the road as soon as they’re ready in the second half of this decade.

Autonomous cars remain a topic of contention across the car industry, not helped by Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ feature, which has received much criticism in recent months for not actually being capable of full ‘hands-off’ driving. Over in the US, its transport regulator is looking into 12 instances of Teslas crashing into emergency vehicles.

Earlier this year the UK government also said it hoped self-driving cars could be allowed on the roads from the end of 2021, though only in strict conditions and at speeds no higher than 37mph.

Audi has now come out to say that it hopes fully autonomous vehicles will be permitted on roads from ‘the second half of this decade’ as it pushes on with the development of its self-driving vehicles.

The German marque has also just revealed its ‘Grandsphere’ concept car that previews its luxury cars of the future. It’s an electric saloon that is capable of ‘Level 4’ autonomous driving – meaning that no human interaction is needed and that it doesn’t even need pedals or a steering wheel when a full ‘hands-off’ driving mode is selected.

Audi GrandSphere
The Grandsphere showcases the future of Audi luxury models

Speaking to the PA news agency at the reveal of the Grandsphere, Josef Schloßmacher, Audi spokesperson for concept cars, said: “At Audi, we will be ready for Level 4 driving in the second half of this decade. That’s an important time frame for us and of course we will interact all the time and work with authorities in the different continents and countries in all important markets on the homologation of this new technology.”

Schloßmacher also said that Audi would work directly with authorities in the hope they would ‘give us a permit when we are ready’.

He added that the autonomous vehicles would not work on all roads and that it would start with motorways and vary according to market.