Self-driving Audi RS7 is Hitting Breakneck Speeds
As a technology pioneer, it’s not a surprise that Google has been at the forefront of driverless car innovation. Back in 2005, a team of Google engineers won the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge. The prize was $2 million from the United States Department of Defense and Google has continued to work on such technology since then.
They have been doing an amazing amount of road testing, clocking over 700,000 autonomous-driving miles in total and each version becoming more divergent from a typical driving cockpit. In other words, the latest driverless car by Google doesn’t have a steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal. Even so, driverless cars are far from being able to handle typical driving conditions due to the inability to spot humans, potholes or any kind of temporary traffic signal and the inability to drive in rain, snow or through parking lots.
Even Tesla Motors has been getting in on the action. They announced the Tesla Model S P85D (the key symbol is the D) which not only includes an acceleration improvement but an autopilot mode. The autopilot mode combines both new and existing technologies. The existing technology is the automatic braking where the car senses an obstacle and applies the brakes on its own. The new and exciting technology is the P85D’s (great name) ability to read speed limit signs as well as see the lines on the road and stay between them. (more…)
It will even change lanes by itself after you use the turn signal. Pretty fancy stuff on a luxury electric car. In the end, thatâs nice, but thereâs a much more exciting
It will even change lanes by itself after you use the turn signal. Pretty fancy stuff on a luxury electric car. In the end, that’s nice, but there’s a much more exciting development that has happened just last week and even with all the buzz Google and Tesla Motors have been receiving about their driverless cars, it’s actually a major automaker that has made the most headway in the last year. That automaker is Audi.
While most automakers tinker with driverless cars in the dark depths of their R&D departments, Audi is the first to receive a California license for self-driving vehicle testing. A few months after receiving that license, Audi put the pedal to the metal with a modified RS7 sedan on a German race track in a single top speed test lap. Audi prepared the driverless vehicle, nicknamed Bobby, with the ability to control itself at up to 190 mph. The plan was to turn Bobby loose at a raceway in Germany called Hockenheim and see how it stacked up against a version of the same car with a proper human driver. The end result was astonishing. You see, Bobby was given a map of the raceway and was tasked with determining the best line around each corner. That means figuring out the proper braking area and turn in point to meet the apex of each corner along with the acceleration points.
Basically, Bobby was asked to do what any driver would have to do for a brand new racetrack if they were only given an unmarked map of it. The end result: the driverless RS7 was 5 seconds quicker than the RS7 with a human driver. Granted, it was a speed lap without any sort of obstacles or even another racer so don’t get ahead of yourself just yet and start thinking that a driverless car series is just around the corner. While that does sound interesting, it’s just not in the cards just yet. The success of Bobby has put Audi at the top of the autonomous car hype and gives high hopes for the future of the technology as technological innovators seek to free up time that most people find tedious and time consuming and for the daily drive in a boring sedan, I would agree. Let’s just never lose the thrill of driving a powerful car with the guttural engine noise. Tesla Motors and Audi may have some fast cars but it’s just not the same. I’m hoping that Ford never makes an autonomous version of the Raptor; what a waste that would be!