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Audi used an event in Germany earlier this week to reveal the world’s first level 3 autonomous vehicle in the all-new Audi A8, confirming that its technology is tested and it won’t be using customers as a test bed.

The all-new Audi A8 is capable of driving itself as a level 3 autonomous vehicle in traffic jams, where the driver is able – technically, but not yet legally – to take their eyes off the road and focus on another task.

When revealing the technology, Audi took a swipe at US tech giant Tesla for using its customers as ‘beta testers’ for its autonomous vehicle technology.

Audi spokesman for piloted driving, Christian Hartmann, was emphatic when he described Audi’s philosophy for autonomous technology.

“This makes it our latest benchmark of vorsprung durch technik in piloted driving. You will be familiar with the discussions about which manufacturer will be the first to offer their customers an autonomous car,” said Hartmann.

“This is debate that sometimes has been reduced to a competition. In these discussions concepts are intermixed and announcements are made quickly. Sometimes customers are even in the role of test objects. That is not our approach.”

Hartmann is of course referring to Tesla, which is currently using customers to generate sufficient data to enable AutoPilot and other driving technologies that it currently doesn’t have data for in vehicles equipped with the brand’s Hardware 2 hardware set.

The key difference is that Tesla has openly said all vehicles with Hardware 2 can be capable of full autonomous driving. Audi’s commitment so far is just to this level 3 traffic jam pilot technology.

Either way it’s an exciting race for consumers and a great time to be involved in automotive, given the constant advancements in automotive technology.

Tell us what you think

Are you looking forward to a future of autonomous vehicles? Or will you never relinquish control?

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