The idea of a driverless car has always seemed futuristic, but in 2014 we’re seeing the technology being tested in the real world with real production vehicles. Audi just took that one step further, however, testing its RS7 driverless car concept on a race track, in order to show off how fast and precise its system can be.
In recent years, Google’s driverless cars have logged hundreds of thousands of miles on California roads without being involved in any autonomous-related accidents. Electric car maker Tesla also recently unveiled that its Model S P85D trim would feature an autopilot system that used radar and sonar to understand traffic situations and make intelligent driving decisions without any manual action.
Audi Wants to Eventually Give Us a Fully-Capable Driverless Option
Audi’s system may have been tested on a race track, but the company’s point was to prove its overall capabilities, which will soon move to streets and highways. The overall goal of Audi’s car, like all driverless car concepts, is to change how we think about driving. Because unlike humans, a driverless system will not get tired, hesitate, or make the same mistakes you and I could make.
The company does not aim to completely replace manual driving, however, it simply wants to give drivers the option to let the car take over.
Pushing the Driverless Car to its Limit
The track test of the Audi RS7 driverless car concept took place at the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagon Masters) season finale at Germany’s Hockenheim grand prix track. The 560-horsepower RS7 has a top speed of 190 miles per hour, and during this test, the driverless RS7 concept reached 140 miles per hour.
Using an ultra-precise GPS, the machine was able to intelligently brake and make decisions on cornering to maximize its time around the Hockenheim track.
Audi had two driverless car concepts doing laps–one nicknamed “Bobby,” the other nicknamed “A.J.”–named after Indianapolis 500 racers Bobby Unser and A.J. Foyt. Bobby was shown off in the main trial run, but both cars did multiple laps with members of the press.