Like a living organism, the cold bites through my four layers of clothing, including thermal underwear and grips my skin.
Cold shock: Frozen lake trials
For the next two days, we will be testing Audi pre sense front in the Audi Q8. This is an assistance system that identifies dangerous situations and if necessary, initiates measures such as emergency braking. Today we will be testing the system on the frozen lake, tomorrow during a road trip
Looking ahead: Audi pre sense
“Depending on how critical the situation is, the system responds. At the lowest warning level, the driver is warned by a visual signal in the cockpit. If it becomes really critical, emergency braking and tightening seat belts is deployed”, says Christian. But why are the engineers traveling hundreds of kilometers into the bitterly cold north of Sweden for testing? “The terrain offers ideal conditions. On the one hand we check the performance of automatic braking under extreme conditions. After all, the ground is extremely slippery. On the other hand we test the performance of the camera in difficult visibility conditions. Fog and snow are commonplace here. If the system works here, it will work elsewhere too,” he explains.
Experimental setup: Test dummy ahead
Back in the car we start today’s test run. Christian accelerates a little, the engine hums and we start briskly. Things then start to get exciting. The test dummy is getting closer. When we are just a few feet away, a red signal flashes in the cockpit and a loud sound is heard. A split second later I feel the brakes go on and shortly afterwards we make an emergency stop. My body tenses, ready for the impact, but we stop short of the test dummy.
If the system does not cause any malfunctions under these extreme conditions and the object detection works without errors, the test is successful
Performance test: Road driving with obstacles
“If the system does not trigger a malfunction and object detection works faultlessly in these extreme conditions, the test is successful.”
As we leave the test center, I feel a bit queasy. The view is really bad and the two preceding Audis are barely visible. But the system does not let itself be confused. Christian sits on the passenger side during the trip and keeps an eye on the camera image and the function signals on a monitor. Back at the test center he draws a positive conclusion of the past days: “We have done a lot of testing and are very satisfied. Even the snow chaos during the road trip did not lead to a malfunction. In addition, object recognition was more than dependable.”