Audi’s new A8 flagship sedan is poised to be the first production car to take advantage of a law passed late last month in Germany that allows drivers to cede full or partial control should their cars have Level 3 or Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.
Level 3 allows hands-off capability but requires the driver to take back control at any time. Level 4 is more advanced. Level 5 is fully autonomous.
Not only is Germany the first country to pass such a law, it is also Europe’s largest new-car market, with more than 3 million registrations annually. In addition, Germany is Audi’s second-largest market after China.
Under previous domestic legislation, drivers’ eyes had to be on the road at all times even if assistance systems combining adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist allowed them to take their hands off the steering wheel for several seconds.