Audi president: Driverless cars will make world safer

Despite a recent fatality involving one of Uber's autonomous vehicles, an automotive CEO is optimistic about the future of driverless cars hitting the road.

“We do think driverless cars absolutely do have a future,” Audi President Scott Keogh told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. “It will make the world safer. It will bring safety, but of course we have to take our time. We have to be methodical.”

Uber said last week that it will suspend tests of self-driving cars after a woman was struck and killed by one of its vehicles. Police in Tempe, Arizona, said the Uber car was operating in autonomous mode with a human safety driver behind the wheel. The pedestrian was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Tuesday that it is investigating a fatal crash involving a man who was killed when his Tesla Model X crashed into a barrier. The car caught fire after the crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The board is looking into whether Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature had anything to do with the crash and if the car’s battery’s system resulted in the car catching on fire.

“2 NTSB investigators conducting field investigation for fatal March 23, 2018, crash of a Tesla near Mountain View, Ca,” the NTSB said on Twitter. “Unclear if automated control system was active at time of crash. Issues examined include: post-crash fire, steps to make vehicle safe for removal from scene.”

While Audi is not actively testing autonomous vehicles in the U.S., it is currently conducting testing in Germany involving a single driver and an engineer monitoring all the systems.

“We still think it’s going to take time to work all these things out,” Keogh said. “It’s a tricky, complicated issue.”

The Audi president introduced the company’s latest performance vehicle, the Audi RS 5 Sportback, at the New York International Auto Show. RS 5 is referred to as a five-door “coupe,” with a 444-horsepower V6 engine and seating for five.

“This is what people want,” Keogh said. “This car stands out, makes a huge visual impression.”