Watch: Audi Unveils a Car That Runs on the Cloud

Volkswagen Scandal in the U.S.
Audi sees a future of self-driving cars controlled through swarm intelligence. Yves Herman/Reuters

Smartphone users are already very familiar with the benefits of allowing cloud technology to synchronize their lives, letting them access email, photos and documents no matter which device they’re holding.

But would you trust the cloud with your life?

German car manufacturer Audi has released a video outlining its vision for the future of driving, featuring their e-tron Quattro, an electric car that uses data from the cloud to drive itself around.

Audi wants to use swarm intelligence—when decentralized objects or animals compile and coordinate information to work together—to provide a car with real-time information on everything it needs to know to safely maneuver around its environment.

“All kinds of vehicles will communicate in future within a shared cloud via a common data standard,” the car company proposes in the video. “The vision is to utilize a common data platform which is required for piloted driving.”

This means your car will cruise on its own using information passed down from the cloud and communicated to it by surrounding vehicles. Each vehicle acts as a marker, sending out data to other road users to generate a more reliable and flexible navigation map.

Swarm intelligence can also be used to calculate the optimum speed a car should travel based on road conditions and upcoming traffic lights.

To ensure maximum safety, Audi pictures the technology being fitted across makes and manufacturers.  

Audi’s look to the future could be an attempt to move on from its parent company’s scandal-rocked present.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed in September 2015 that Volkswagen had allegedly fitted millions of its diesel cars with “defeat devices” that could detect when the car was undergoing an emissions test in order to switch operating modes and pass.

On January 4, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers.

And on Wednesday, the BBC reported that U.S. regulators had rejected VW’s plans to recall the cars fitted with the devices over concerns that the proposal doesn’t go far enough.

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