No driver, no drama and no crashes from the Audi RS7 around Hockenheim!
But also… not as much speed as one might expect. The car was driving at about five tenths, which is disappointing due to the outlined info below. It knew the track and was still pretty wimpy. No doubt Audi being cautious, but still … kindof lame versus seeing a car really driven on its ragged edge. After all, driverless tech will be very helpful in running 24-hour durability tests in the future — once it gets warmed up and will start flooring the throttles!
Will it crash? The answer is that this autonomous RS7 is very, very unlikely to crash — even when driven flat-out around the challenging Hockenheimring track.
In some ways, using a set course or track makes the piloted and autonomous driving demonstrations far more controlled and repeatable than they ever would be out on public roads, or a highway the car has never driven before, in traffic and weather.
After all, Audi sent an autonomous TT up Pikes Peak — which surely presents a difficult set of challenges for the technology. With any planned route, however, the GPS way-points and every contour of the road can be programmed into the system in advance. So it is a huge advantage to have these controlled environments, even as difficult as Pikes Peak or Hockenheim are.
The difficulty level is significantly increased by trying to maintain race pace in an autonomous machine. As we have seen in many DARPA Challenges, autonomous cars are usually awkward and slow-moving as they learn their surroundings on the fly. If those test trucks were trying to drive at 10/10ths? It would not end well.
Volkswagen and Stanford University have partnered for the last few DARPA Grand Challenges, with purple Touaregs being the mule.
This RS7 does not show any giant sensor balls on its roof, but the software and processors inside surely have some big balls to attempt a race lap on live video feed.
Check it out tomorrow morning via the link below, and see a demo video here before then.
2014 Audi RS7 Piloted Concept
AUDI RS7 PILOTED CONCEPT TAKES THE TRACK THIS SUNDAY, OCT. 19 – LIVE FEED
This Sunday, October 19, the Audi RS7 Piloted Concept will hit the Hockenheimring race track at speed – without a driver. The world’s sportiest piloted driving car will take the track at 6:50 am EDT (12:50 CEST) before the finale of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters).
Audi MediaTV will broadcast the run LIVE and provide an exclusive look behind the scenes 6:45 am EDT (12:45 CEST). A video recap will be available for download following the race.
Additional videos about the RS7 Piloted Concept including footage, teasers and an embed code for the LIVE feed, are available www.audimedia.tv/en.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.