Audi says that a button on the A8’s center console can make the traffic jam pilot start, accelerate, steer and stop the vehicle. The automaker additionally claims that the function will allow drivers to completely remove their hands from the wheel and watch the car’s on-board television while the vehicle autonomously drives itself (depending on local regulations.)
Other automakers have shied away from level three autonomy, choosing to bypass it to work on shooting level four or five fully-autonomous driving. The argument, made by everyone from driving instructors to the British government is that level three autonomy lures drivers into a false sense of security, trusting the vehicle to drive itself when they should be paying attention to the road.
Throw in de-rigeur luxe features like onboard fragrance diffusers, self-closing doors, and LED ambient lighting with multiple colors, and you start to get one of the most advanced executive cars around. The new A8 and A8 L will go on sale in Germany in the late fall of 2017, priced from 90,600 EUR ($103k) for the A8, and 94,100 EUR ($107k) for the A8 L. US pricing and availability are yet to be confirmed.
If you want to buy the new A8, you’ll have to check whether your jurisdiction will accept it as a Level 3 car. Audi said in a statement that it will follow “a step-by-step approach” to introducing the traffic jam pilot. It plans to sell the base model in Europe this fall for €90,600, or about US $103,000, and to enter the United States market shortly afterwards.