Audi Night Vision Assistant: An impressive technological innovation
A Wormhole into the Audi Night Vision Assistant technology
While at work, I regularly fall into YouTube wormholes. If I’m doing my job correctly, the videos are primarily (if not exclusively) car-related. And, with any luck, these digital meanderings usually lead to some fodder for a blog post.
Well, yesterday whilst tunneling through said hole, I found a video of UK car reviewer Mr. JWW collecting his custom-colored Audi RS6 from the West London Audi dealership:
Before I attend to the “meat” of this article, let’s address the fact that you cannot purchase the RS6 in the US-market. But, as you can tell from the video, this vehicle appears to be the result of carnal relations between a Q5 and an allroad. Whether or not that’s a good thing, I suppose, is for the viewer to decide.
What I find fascinating about this review, though, is the Night vision assistant demonstration that begins at the 6:36 mark. JWW concurs, saying “Whoa. That is the craziest thing. It’s like some science-fiction happening here. It’s mad that you can even say you have night vision in you car.” Yes, JWW, it is indeed a mad, technological flourish.
The Audi Night Vision Assistant package
Previous to watching this clip, I didn’t even know that night vision was an option in the Audi fleet, let alone a feature that car manufacturers were exploring. As such, I did a little bit of digging in order to investigate this assistance package a bit more. Below you can watch the official Audi demonstration video:
As the tutorial states, the Audi Night Vision Assistant system can detect pedestrians between 50 to 300 feet in front of the vehicle. That’s a rather impressive feature and, certainly, could help a driver avoid a harmful collision.
While the tutorial offers a rather revolutionary image of the night vision assistance program, is it really as good as marketers make it out to be? During an April 2012 analysis, Car and Driver tested the night vision systems on the 2012 BMW 750i, Mercedes-Benz CL550, and Audi A8L. The good news for Audi was that the test revealed its vehicle boasted the most effective system, outpacing the other luxury car manufacturers. The not-so-great news is that the testers concluded that:
night vision is a bit of a gimmick in its current form. Adding another layer of visual information is not necessarily a boon to night driving, certainly when that information is presented in a different location from the images you see through the windshield. It is potentially a significant distraction, which can diminish, not improve, your awareness during night driving.
Of course, Car and Driver conducted that test four and a half years ago on vehicles that were manufactured over five years ago. Since then, the industry has made some drastic improvements.
In an article posted just months ago at Extreme Tech, the reviewer notes that “Car night vision, now that it can reliably detect and alert you to pedestrians, cyclists and deer beyond the reach of your headlamps, is well worth considering when you’re looking to buy your next car.” This, obviously, is a far cry from the assessment leveled four years previously.
In fact, the reviewer wraps up his article by claiming that “night vision systems have come a long way in a short time.” He even references the aforementioned BMW-Mercedes-Audi test, noting how a few “years ago, a Car and Driver night vision test concluded that no system was good enough for the purposes of their test (essentially, driving by night vision alone). Now, the pedestrian/animal detection-and-alert features are truly useful.”
And Audi feels comfortable enough with their updated assistance package that it’s started to run ads like the one below:
If you’re interested in a vehicle with the Night Vision Assistant package, Audi currently offers the option in eight of its vehicles: the A6, S6, A7, S7, RS7, A8L, S8, and Q7. According to Audi USA’s configurator, the cost for the Audi Night Vision Assistant package amounts to $2,300.
Prestige Imports: Denver’s Home for Audi’s Newest Technology
Would you like to hear more about the Audi Night Vision Assistant package? Stop by Prestige Imports at 9201 West Colfax Avenue, located between Wadsworth an Kipling. Our inventory contains vehicles that sport the full compliment of Audi’s cutting-edge technology. You can also speak with one of our Audi Brand Specialists by calling (888) 446-4994.
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