A driverless Audi car built for normal speeds is nothing new for an Audi concept car. On the other hand, a car more similar to something you could find at a local dealership rocketing around a racetrack without a driver behind the wheel is taking everyday driving to another level.
According to CNN, the Audi RS7 completed the Hockenheimring racetrack in Germany driverless and topped off at a whopping 140 miles per hour on Sunday.
In order to take the turns of the speedway and find the best possible positions on the track to operate without crashing at high speeds, the driverless car had to have a positioning system which could be nothing but extremely precise.
The Audi RS7 was equipped to know exactly where it was on the track at any given moment using computers and sensors to guide it.
Although it must have been amusing and amazing to see a driverless car complete a high-speed lap around a racetrack, Audi could draw some important conclusions about safety through the autonomous trip around the track.
Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for technical development at Audi, believes the RS7 shows its versatility in harsh situations.
“We have to be able to manage extreme situations and that’s what we are demonstrating here.”
For real usage in everyday driving, a driverless car would have to respond as fast as possible to maneuver through obstacles or out of harm’s way. The car would need to be equipped with powerful sensors and ultra-fast programs and computers in order to be reliable and safe.
According to GTspirit, the autonomous Audi RS7 was able to navigate the track at high speeds using systems found in dealerships now. The car uses equipment available to consumers, such as lane assist, night vision, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and Audi pre-sense safety.
What sets the Audi RS7 concept car apart from regular cars is a special GPS system on the roof, two extra 3D cameras in the front and two extra 3D cameras in the back. Special software and other hardware were essential in getting the car safely around the track at high speeds as well.
For optimal safety, the car raced around the track without other cars on the racetrack.
There are still many improvements to be made, and people to convince, before autonomous cars could be used with other cars regularly on the highway. GTspirit predicts cars with driverless options could be the norm in a decade or so.
While it may seem like owning a driverless car is still far off in the future, Audi has already received a license for autonomous driving in California.
[Image via Audi]