Autoliv Inc. provides the third-generation Audi A8 with its optional a night vision/pedestrian detection technology. Autoliv's system detects infrared light from warm objects such as humans. This provides visibility that goes beyond what is possible when using visible reflected light because the field of vision is not limited to the beam of the headlights. With night vision, A8 drivers see people more than two times further than the headlight range. The display screen present in the instrument cluster highlights detected pedestrians, and the system will further alert the driver if there is any risk of hitting them. The system also adjusts to the driving situation. At high speeds, the system monitors a narrow channel ahead of the automobile; a wider area is scanned at lower speeds.
The system already appears on one of the A8's top rivals, the BMW 7 series.
Autoliv also provides the driver and passenger airbags, with Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH producing the control unit that regulates airbag deployment.
Bosch also supplies the A8's automatic emergency braking system, which is designed to prevent rear-end collisions. The system can detect and determine the speed of objects up to 250 meters ahead of the vehicle via two long-range radar sensors positioned on both sides of the front bumper. The system also uses a video camera positioned behind the front windshield to further monitor the driving situation. Analysis of the sensor data determines if the brakes need to be applied - and how much braking will be required. For example, if the system detects a vehicle rapidly slowing down ahead, the brake pads are moved very close to the wheel disc in preparation for emergency braking. Should the driver fail to brake, an alarm is sounded followed by automatic partial braking. If the driver still does not react and a collision is unavoidable, the system engages maximum braking approximately half a second before the predicted impact. The video data augments the system by doing things such as regulating driving functions like the dipping of the bi-xenon headlamps, which are from Germany's Hella KGaA Hueck & Co.
Bosch also provides the A8's adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control systems.
Belgium-based commercial vehicle supplier Wabco Holdings Inc. supplies the A8 with its adaptive air suspension, which responds in real-time to the road surface, giving a smoother ride and reducing fuel consumption. Key to the system is Wabco's electronic control unit, which uses the FlexRay high-speed communication protocol, along with the company's newest generation of high-power compressors. Wabco's air suspension system also appears on the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
Another noteworthy A8 supplier is Faurecia SA. The PSA/Peugeot-Citroen-controlled French partsmaker contributes the luxury sedan's exhaust emissions control as well as its complete seats, which come with a massage functions for the passenger. The A8 also features a new propeller-shaft technology from GKN Driveline, a unit of UK-based GNK Group. The shaft was developed to reduce complexity, weight and NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).
Audi assembles the A8 in Neckarsulm, Germany. Prices start at 72,200 euros ($88,265) in Germany.