Audi’s RS 7 driverless autonomous vehicle participated in a grand prix

The future is now, people! So far, we’ve seen that each day there are more and more advances made in the self-driving cars world. Today, I’m going to talk about the latest, and the hottest news: Audi’s RS 7 driverless autonomous vehicle, which demonstrated on October 19, at Hockenheim, that it’s capable to lap a race circuit. But first, let me show you the teaser video of its lap race.

Even though they don’t show you that much in the video, the dynamic of the images, and the music (oh, the music!) is just perfect. It’s similar to a trailer for a SF/action movie, that is going to be a blockbuster. It definitely got me excited.

The technology behind the Audi RS 7 driverless autonomous vehicle

For a car to drive itself at racing speed, there needs to be some awesome technology involved. Behind the technology that helped keeping the autonomous vehicle orientated on the track, Audi used specially corrected GPS signals. The GPS data were transmitted to the vehicle via WiFi according to the automotive standard and redundantly via high-frequency radio.

They also used 3D cameras, which filmed the track. The images from the camera were then compared by a computer program with data set that was stored on board. All these technologies made it possible for the Audi RS 7 to orient itself on the track within centimeters.

In the press release, Audi said that piloted driving is “one of the most important development fields at Audi”.

On their official website, Audi claims that “Assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and others form the cornerstone and have long proven themselves in volume production”.

Driverless racing you say?

With the occasion of Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), the Audi RS 7 was able to complete a lap on the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim, without a driver, at a racing speed of 220 kilometres per hour. The driverless autonomous vehicle needed a little over 2 minutes to complete the lap. Also, the car was piloted very accurately, and precisely. I would say more precisely than a pilot could have done it.

Audi live streamed the race on their website, but unfortunately for those who wanted so bad to see the RS 7 driverless autonomous vehicle in action, the servers crashed due to so many users. If you missed the actual lap race, here is a video with the highlights from Hockenheim.

Audi is one step ahead

Given that only two months ago, Audi became the first car manufacturer to receive an autonomous driving permit from the state of California, the company is now much closer to introducing driverless cars in the city. Still, it’s one thing to go around 30 miles in a city, and one thing to go at a race speed, on an actual circuit.

The idea of a driverless car seemed so futuristic a few years ago. Now, I believe that one day, we will be able to “tell” our cars to come pick us up, and drive us home. Just like we saw in cartoons. It’s amazing what’s going on right now with car technology.

What are your thoughts on Audi’s RS7 driverless autonomous vehicle lap racing? Let me know down in the comments.

PS: If you’re interested in more news from the self-driving cars world, come back for more.

Philipp Kandal