Audi readies self-driving car for production

Audi readies self-driving car for production

The latest generation of the Audi RS7 piloted driving concept vehicle has surpassed its previous performance at the Sonoma Raceway in California.

Piloted driving will make its production debut in the next generation of the luxury-class sedan, the Audi A8. The systems can assume control of the car during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 60 km/h.

“In Sonoma, we took the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept to its physical limits lap after lap, and it handled the task with uniform precision,” says Audi engineer Thomas Müller.“The car turned in lap times that were better than those of racing drivers.”

The RS 7 took just 2:01.01 minutes to complete the 4.05km circuit.

Audi says it has been testing piloted driving under increasingly challenging conditions.

In October 2014, an RS 7 named “Bobby” completed a driverless lap on the Hockenheimring at speeds up to 240 km/h.

The new generation of the car is named “Robby,” has a power output of 412 kW (560 hp) and is around 400 kg lighter than its predecessor. Whether braking, steering or accelerating, the piloted car controls all driving functions fully autonomously.

Audi has also tested piloted driving in real traffic.

At the start of 2015, “Jack” – an Audi A7 piloted driving concept with many near-production solutions – drove on public highways from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas for the consumer electronics show (CES). Shortly after, this car also drove autonomously on German autobahns at speeds up to 130 km/h.

At CES Asia in May 2015, journalists also had an opportunity to experience piloted driving – in Shanghai traffic.

The development work, which includes driving on a very wide array of testing grounds, is yielding knowledge for series-production systems – from the sensor technology and data processing to vehicle control and stabilisation.

Audi says the technologies for piloted driving offer safety, efficiency and convenience. The systems can make a valuable contribution to safety, especially when the driver is overwhelmed or underwhelmed by driving tasks. In addition, it gives drivers greater freedom for organising their time in the car. When used to temporarily assume driving tasks, the predictive technology makes driving more efficient, reduces stress and enhances comfort says Audi.

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