How Audi will make roads friendlier to autonomous cars

Today, Audi announced some of the new projects it will be implementing on Germany's Digital Motorway Test Bed, which comprises a few sections of highway on which the government and industry can test autonomous and connected tech. Among Audi's projects is one specifically aimed at making roads easier for autonomous cars to navigate. Audi is looking to make the road and other objects more visible.

The company has been researching materials that could make guardrails and road markers reflect radar waves more readily, and Audi will install test versions soon. The goal here is to help make these objects easier for the autonomous vehicle's sensors to see in inclement weather, and at greater distances in good weather. The company will also test additional road markings that will be easier to see for onboard cameras and will help the car place itself on the road.

Audi will also try out new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology that will be able to alert cars to speed limits, traffic conditions, ice patches and possibly allow for driving patterns such as platooning. This will be a significant step above the traffic light communication system Audi has released in select areas. The company will also be working on very detailed mapping of the area. Audi claims it will be accurate down to the centimeter.

From what we've seen at MCity, the world as it stands presents all kinds of difficulties for autonomous vehicles, from worn-out signs to rough pavement. So any advances that make it easier for autonomous cars to see and communicate should help bring such vehicles to reality much sooner.

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