Volkswagen wants to be your back seat driver.
As a part of an effort to help prevent accidents caused from inattentive and distracted drivers, Volkswagen is introducing its "Temporary Auto Pilot” (TAP) system, which aims to correct driving mistakes while out on the road.
Serving as a watchful eye on the road – and not meant to replace the driver entirely – TAP is based on a sensor platform, consisting of radar, camera and ultrasonic-based sensors, supplemented by a laser scanner and an electronic horizon. This means it will work with a variety of sensors and cameras positioned to the exterior of the vehicle to keep cars on track.
TAP will bundle semi-automatic functions, such as those monitored by the driver, with other driver assistance systems, including cruise control and the Lane Assist lane-keeping system, into one system.
“One conceivable scenario for its initial use might be in monotonous driving situations, such as traffic jams or over sections of a driving route that are exceedingly speed-limited,” said Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research.
When in “pilot mode,” TAP will keep a safe distance to vehicles ahead, drive at a speed selected by the driver and reduce as necessary before curves and bends. It will also maintain the vehicle’s central position between lanes, according to Volkwagen, and observe the speed limit.
It also has the ability to perform stop-and-start maneuvers needed in traffic jams, and can reach speeds of up to 80 miles an hour on highways.
However, Volkswagen warns that drivers must still continually focus their attention on the road, so that they can intervene in safety-critical situations at any time.
“The driver always retains driving responsibility and is always in control,” Leohold said. “[They] can override or deactivate the system at any time and must continually monitor it.”