While Volvo has been working hard to show its autonomous vehicles will be able to tackle roads and highways, the Audi RS 7 Piloted Driving Concept has been smashing race tracks.

THE AUDI RS 7 Piloted Driving Concept burst onto the scene last year in October when it lapped famous German race track, the Hockenheimring at speeds of up to 240km/h without driver input (that car was called, Bobbie). Now the company has put its refreshed Audi RS 7 Piloted Driving Concept to the test at the FAST Parcmotor in Spain.

This appearance followed an earlier one in which this refreshed autonomous RS 7, which is a staggering 400kg lighter than its predecessor, took on California’s Sonoma race track (this car is called Robby). 

“Under challenging conditions on various international race courses, we are acquiring important experience in tuning our piloted functions at performance limits. Of course, this benefits development of our production assistance systems such as collision avoidance assist in the new Audi A4,” says Thomas Müller, who is responsible for the development of braking, steering and driver assistance systems at Audi.

“Each race track is different and presents new challenges for us. We use the knowledge we gain to enhance the robustness and performance of our test vehicle. This has resulted in excellent lap times with a best lap time of 2:07.67 minutes for the 4.2km ong course.”

The current generation Audi RS 7 Piloted Driving Concept is powered by a 4.0 TFSI V8 biturbo engine which makes 412 kW (560 hp). Robby is around 400kg lighter than the previous model.

While it might be fun to watch a driverless car tackle a race track and get every single corner millimetre perfect, Audi said it’s race track work is all part of the journey towards autonomous functionality in its vehicle. Indeed, the next-generation Audi A8 due out in 2018 will debut Audi’s Piloted Driving, or Audi-speak for autonomous functionality at speeds of up to 60km/h.

“Audi technologies for piloted driving stand for the principles of safety, time savings, efficiency and convenience. The systems can make a valuable contribution toward safety, especially when the driver is overwhelmed or underwhelmed by driving tasks. When used to temporarily assume driving tasks, the predictive technology makes driving more efficient, reduces stress and enhances comfort. In addition, it gives drivers greater freedom for organising their time in the car,” Audi said.


Compared: Peugeot 208 GTi and Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ


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