Veedub Has The Hands-Free Car

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

We (well, some of us) await the autonomous auto that leaves the driving to a robot, such as not to distract us from twittering and uploading pictures of our cats to our facebookies. That technology is not quite there yet. Volkswagen however thinks “an important milestone on the path towards fully automatic and accident-free driving” has been set. So said Volkswagen’s Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold at the final presentation of the EU research project HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport – who comes up with that stuff?)

Leohold is the Executive Director of Volkswagen Group Research. He presented the “Temporary Auto Pilot” by Volkswagen: TAP can drive a car hands-free up to a speed of 130 kilometers per hour on freeways.

TAP keeps a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, drives at a speed selected by the driver, reduces the speed as necessary before a curve, and maintains lane discipline. The system also observes overtaking rules and speed limits. Stop and start driving maneuvers in traffic jams are also automated. With TAP, it is possible to drive at speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour on motorways or similar roads. Probably as a nod to Volkswagen’s legal department, “drivers must still continually focus their attention on the road, so that they can intervene in safety-critical situations at any time.”

TAP is still a prototype. However, Volkswagen says it is “based on a relatively production-like sensor platform, consisting of production-level radar-, camera-, and ultrasonic-based sensors supplemented by a laser scanner and an electronic horizon.”

Leohold thinks “one conceivable scenario for its initial use might be in monotonous driving situations, e.g. in traffic jams or over sections of a driving route that are exceedingly speed-limited.”

But then, there could be a host of other situations where such a system could be beneficial: Reaching for a moving object, insect in vehicle, applying makeup, not to forget other personal hygiene.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Jose carlos Jose carlos on Jun 23, 2011

    Isn't this the expensive version of a $2 bus ticket? hands free, adaptative cruise, lane departure warning, etc. no, thanks.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jun 24, 2011

      In a bus, one is never alone. Now and again, cars are perfect for a solo fahrt.

  • Seabrjim Seabrjim on Jun 23, 2011

    Gee, remember the Volvo last year with the automatic braking demonstration? The one that smashed into the rear of the truck during the demo?. Pass.

  • Akear I just wish GM could produce a vehicle 80% as good as the crown.I sat in a Trax at a Chevrolet dealership this weekend and was shocked how cheap it felt. GM does not care.GM - what a disgrace!
  • Akear I like the grill treatment of all Mitsubishi products. It is an interesting and original design.
  • El scotto Some rambling thoughts; Elon is pulling billions in cash out of Tesla. Tesla will be around, Elon won't let them fail. Mitsubishi is an odd place, you can't sell vehicles if you don't have dealers. Out of all the "Automalls" near you, how many have a Mitsubishi dealership? The Agnellis owned Fiat, Fiat got sold to Stellantis. The Agnellis control Exor. How much of Stellantis does Exor own? I really should be drinking beer with Billy Ford and talking Big-10 trash with him. Ford and Lucid should work out a partnership. You want an electric Lincoln? Have Lucid build it and slap a Lincoln name plate on it. BTW, kick Farley's butt to the curb.
  • Akear US contentChevrolet Trax - 5%Honda Pilot - 52%What a disgrace!I glad Consumer Reports panned the Trax, and put it on its avoid list.
  • Akear This is similar to what lazy GM and Ford used to do.
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