Audi has let its new RS 7 concept loose on the Hockenheim track at the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season finale. In fact, they let it complete a lap at racing speed without a driver.
It is one of the latest triumphs as car companies are working to create driverless vehicles, with Audi showing that perhaps they can be developed for racing tracks.
Board member for technical development at Audi AG Professor Dr Ulrich Hackenberg said: “The top performance by the Audi RS 7 today substantiates the skills of our development team with regard to piloted driving at Audi,”
“The derivations from series production, particularly in terms of precision and performance, are of great value for our further development steps.”
This is not the first time that Audi has seen success with piloted driving. It saw its first successful development ten years ago. Since then, more test results have gone into the series development. With the test runs at DTM showing the RS 7 at physical limit, Audi engineers are provided with insights for the development of automatic avoidance functions in critical driving situations.
To control the car’s orientation on the track, the RS 7 uses GPS signals that are specially corrected. This data is then transmitted to the vehicle using WiFi through high-frequency radio. Meanwhile, there are 3D cameras on board that film the track while a computer program compares the cameras’ image information against data stored on board. It is this that allows the car to orient itself on the track to within centimetres.
For the creation of further piloted systems in the future, Audi has partnered with Volkswagen Group Research, the Electronics Research Laboratory and Stanford University.
There are already driver assistance systems used in Audi’s production vehicles. The highest level of development can be felt in the updated version of the Audi A6 and Audi A7 Sportback model series.
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