Audi and Lexus are well into development of self-driving car technology.
While you would think that the end result would be similar, the two companies are taking completely different positions on how they want drivers to experience assisted driving.
Lexus' primary goal with its self-driving cars is safety. Currently, the company's LS model is the world leader in car safety with its pre-crash system. Lexus sees its self-driving technology as a way to prevent human error.
Lexus is developing its systems layer upon layer to focus on safety first and believes that the driver should always be in control.
"Philosophically our approach is different [from Audi's]. We believe that autonomous is not driver-less," one Lexus told Business Insider.
In the short term Lexus sees self-driving as a virtual co-pilot that can assist the driver to be more skillful and better protected.
Audi's technology is a different story.
The German automaker's "Piloted Driving" system is a way for drivers to kick back and relax or work, while the car automatically drives through low speed situations, primarily traffic jams. If you want to change lanes you can override the system by tapping the pedal or moving the steering wheel.
Here is Audi's vision for its self-driving system:
Under normal circumstances people buy Audi's to drive them on their own and have fun with their cars but if you are on the highway and there is a traffic jam it is very, very boring so we developed Piloted Driving for traffic jam situations. If you are in a jam and the speed is below 35 mph you will be able to activate the system by pressing a button on the steering wheel and you can remove your hands from the steering wheel and take your foot off the pedal.
Audi plans to make this technology available within the next decade and if the final product is anything like what we saw today drivers will be in for a real treat.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter which self-driving technology is "better" Audi and Lexus' innovations will in the future help to make driver's lives better and safer.
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