CES Las Vegas: The battle for pole position in autopiloted driving has flared up

Columbus' egg? Daimler's future vision of autonomous driving

Yes, the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas could give the impression of being at a car show. There has probably never been so much traffic. And it's not just the German manufacturers who are showing their developments, but also the Asians and Americans. In other words, everyone wants to be the first in the future.

The interior has nothing left of today's vehicles Photos: Daimler

The interior has nothing left of today's vehicles Photos: Daimler

There is a risk that the virtual dispute over the top position can turn into disappointment for the customer. Now must be delivered. And soon. Not only in ten years. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Kia, Ford, GM, to name just a few, want to introduce the auto pilot as quickly as possible. As Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said, the engineers are further than the legislation. Who is liable if, despite all the technological perfection, an accident does occur? And that's just one of many unanswered questions.

It is also interesting to see how the company Nvidia, which is mainly known as a graphics card manufacturer, suddenly comes up with a kind of super-computer that will in future use audis and vehicles from other manufacturers to decide in thousandths of a second which objects are dangerous or not. The system "NVIDIA DRIVE"Distinguishes between pedestrians and cyclists, for example, and could also differentiate between car models," said Nvidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang. The car computer is equipped with extremely high computing power and can simultaneously process images from up to twelve cameras. "The car of the future will be determined by software," say the developers and Head of Audi Development Hackenberg in unison.

When Audi chief engineer Hackenberg specifically points out that Audi was the first manufacturer to present at CES, it seems strange. “Audi was the first German automaker at CES. We are here for the fifth time. Now the others have followed. ” This sentence makes it clear how the automakers are not only fighting for pole position, but are struggling for every inch of the lead.

It is not important who was the first at the CES, but who is the first with the car pilot at the customer.

“Networking is a basic human need. It shapes the future of the car, ”said Head of Audi Development Hackenberg. This can also be heard from the other manufacturers: software will largely determine the future benefits of automobiles. The engine performance or the chassis quality is increasingly taking a back seat. The technical quality of the car models is now so high with almost all manufacturers that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a head start. When it comes to autonomous driving, the software will be the key criterion for showing a lead.

Is the customer ready to hand over the tax to the software in their car? The skepticism that is expressed in many surveys by market researchers is noticeably diminishing. Who has never wished in the traffic jam just to be able to turn right and take a nap? Who would not like to be able to turn to the nagging children on the annoying trip, who constantly ask: Dad when are we there? Who has never had a short appointment and then had to look for a free space in the parking garage? In a hopefully not too distant future, all of these problems will no longer exist. Autonomous driving is certainly not only accepted by customers, but is used with enthusiasm. Autonomous driving is not patronizing the driver, it also brings more safety. Skeptics will soon see the benefits and throw their skepticism overboard.

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