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In a bid to get driverless cars onto the road, auto parts manufacturer Delphi will take CES attendees for rides on rugged terrain in Audis. The idea is to sell prospective companies on the its self-driving system and come away from the show with a real path to production.
This isn’t the first time that Delphi has pulled off a driverless stunt in Audis. In 2015 an Audi Q5, made driverless with Delphi’s system, went coast to coast to prove that autonomy had arrived.
This year, though, the driverless Audi will be going off-road (meaning there won’t be lanes to follow and there will be plenty of unpredictable obstacles to avoid) and through tunnels to prove that the technology is ready for production.
“The last two years at CES have been more about just showcasing the technology and saying, ‘Look what it can do,'” said Glen De Vos, Delphi’s vice president of advanced engineering. “This year, the discussion is all about the path to production.”
But Delphi isn’t too bullish about its prospects. Driving alongside autonomous cars is still some ways off. What the company sees as more likely short term is something like an airport shuttle bus. By eliminating the human bus driver (take that Jim Jarmusch!) costs can be cut down by as much as 70%.
“The economics are really compelling,” said De Vos, who will be giving tram operators test rides in Delphi’s driverless car in Las Vegas. “After CES, we expect to really be getting serious with three or four customers.”
[source: Automotive News]