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Audi to produce world’s first hands-free car


Audi has claimed that its new A8 model will be the first production car to offer Level 3 (or ‘hands free’) autonomous technology, which will be available in Australia by 2018.

‘Level 3’ means that the driver is able to take their eyes off the road in ‘limited environments’ such as arterial roads and motorways.

“You are allowed to take your hands off the wheel, the car is braking, accelerating, changing lanes, overtaking and you can really read a book or whatever you do,” said Audi board member Dietmar Voggenreiter at the Paris Motor Show.

If the car detets a potential hazard however, it will alert the driver, who will then need to take the wheel.

Voggenreiter added that the driver will be able to take their eyes off the road at speeds of up to 65km/h.

He also compared the A8 to Tesla’s Model S, saying that it uses “more or less the same technology”, before he criticised Tesla for using the term “Autopilot” when its cars are not actually meant to be used hands-free.

Voggenreiter added that Audi intends to legal responsibility for the safety of the driver.

“If you take over responsibility and allow the driver to take off their hands, then you are responsible. This is not big news – this is part of the legal and regulation side,” he said.

Audi’s new A8 model will be released in Europe next year.

According to the company, the car will be available in Australia by 2018, provided road safety authorities in each state give their approval.

Like many other autonomous car producers, Voggenreiter has argued that the majority of car accidents are caused by human error, suggesting that autonomous cars such as the A8 are actually safer than standard cars, and will reduce the number of accidents on roads.

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