Last week Audi has made an amazing demonstration, as part of their autonomous vehicle program, for which it partnered up with Stanford University and the VW Electronics Research Lab (ERL) in California, over a decade ago.
Their RS 7 Piloted Driving concept car, nicknamed Bobby, performed a full lap of the Hockenheimring GP circuit in Germany at high speed, fully autonomously and, most importantly without any error. The car maintained a superb racing line throughout the run, precisely braking and accelerating out of corners, reaching speeds up to 225 km/h (140 mph) on the straights, and 127 km/h (almost 87 mph) on average.
The robotic 560 HP 4.0 twin-turbo V8 sports sedan managed to complete the 4.6 kilometer long track in 2 minutes and 10 seconds dead, a laptime absolutely comparable with runs previously performed on the circuit. You can watch the complete lap in the video at the end of this article.
The autonomous RS 7 relied on a very accurate differential GPS (D-GPS) system, which consists of ground stations that receive GPS signals, apply corrections and further relay data to the car via radio signals, 3D stereo cameras, as well as preloaded maps to position itself on the track.
This is not the first demonstration of this kind, back in 2012 students at Stanford made a similar demonstration with Shelley, the robotic Audi TTS, which completed a lap of the Thunderhill Raceway in California where it put up a very decent time.
The future belongs to autonomous cars that’s for sure, and while this demonstration was a complete success, there is still a long way to go until we will see driverless vehicles on the streets parking themselves, picking up their owners or carrying people to their destinations, and accomplish all these tasks while not hitting people, or being able to avoid kids who chase their football which just happens to get into the street.
Below you can watch the whole reportage of Audi’s driverless car at Hockenheim, or you can skip to minute 14:25 where the autonomous drive begins.
More information about the RS 7 piloted driving concept.
Source: Audi media