Although many of us fancy a few hot laps on a racetrack, the truth is that most of us would finish on the grass if we throttle a little more than we should. But how about a car that can drive itself? Is it capable of rushing at 190 mph?
Audi recently took its autonomous test cars to California’s authorities to get driving permits there – essentially integrating them in the daily automotive business in the most populous US state. Now its high-performance RS7 sedans have decided to stage a competition: one was driven by a human pilot, the other by the artificial intelligence. Guess who won – yes, it was the driverless one, with a difference of five seconds. And five seconds in motorsport terms is an “eternity.”
VW’s premium automaker Audi is rushing to perform all the necessary tests to bring the autonomous cars to life (and by that we mean series production), including tests that suppose reaching speeds in excess of 190 mph (305 km/h) at Germany’s Oschersleben (about 120 miles west of Berlin). The car is allowed to choose its own optimal line, the map given to the computer having just the right and left boundaries of the track.
Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg reckons “the first systems for piloted driving could come to market in a few years,” if the authorities around the world decide to allow self-driving cars on the roads.