Driverless Audi RS7 Laps the Track at Speed Using a Picture-Perfect Line
We already know the $104,900 (base MSRP) Audi RS7 is the biggest beast among all other beastly super-sedans. With its 4.0-liter, 560 horsepower, 516 pound-feet twin-turbocharged V8 powering all four wheels through a Audi’s bullet-proof Quattro AWD system and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Audi RS7 Sportback will power from 0 to 60 mph in a scant 3.7 seconds on to a limited top speed of 174 mph. And, that performance is despite the über luxury sedan’s 4,475 pound curb weight.
We also already know that the RS7 can successfully put all of that power to the road with its 1.3g braking and 1.1g turns. That, of course, is with a driver… an actual human at the wheel. But, what if there wasn’t a flesh and blood person behind the wheel? What if the driver was replaced with a bank of complex and advanced sensors, cameras and computers with programming more complex that the Space Shuttle?
Audi decided to find out. They loaded up an RS7 with the latest and greatest in self-driving technology, creating the Audi RS7 Piloted Concept. Then, they sent it around the Hockenheimring race track during the finale of the DTM racing season. This wasn’t just some slow, little lap. They sent the RS7 Piloted Concept around Hockenheim at full racing speed. And, amazingly enough, the car ran a perfect… and I mean picture-perfect… racing line.
So, how did it do? First, some context. The fastest four-door lap record of Hockenheim belongs to a BMW M3 in 2007 with a 2:02.71. Last year, a Porsche 918 Spyder set the production car record at 1:48.50. And, the overall record was set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2009 while piloting a McLaren MP4-19 to a 1:13.79 lap time.
How did the Audi RS7 Piloted Concept stack up? No official lap time has been released, but timing the video below puts it right around 2:30 or so. But, that’s starting from a dead stop and slowing to a stop right before the finish line. I’d bet that the Audi RS7 Piloted would easily do a 2:10 flying lap. That’s damn impressive with a driver and downright astonishing without one.
Check out the videos below to watch the lap for yourself. They’re amazing. And, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for driverless cars. I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.