Audi RS 7 – the fastest ever driverless car

To show off their self driving RS 7, Audi sent their concept car for a lap of Hockenheim at this past weekend’s DTM season finale. The self driving car achieved speeds in excess of 140mph.

Racing speed without a driver

The Audi RS 7 demo was part of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) season finale, the German version of the British Touring Car Championship. All eyes were on Audi as they took their autonomous car to the starting grid.

After getting the go ahead, World Cup winning footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger waved the green flag, setting the RS 7 off on its lap. Running up to its physical limit, the RS 7 raced around Hockenheim at top speed, reaching 149mph without a driver inside.


Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg beside the Audi RS 7

“The top performance by the Audi RS 7 today substantiates the skills of our development team with regard to piloted driving at Audi,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “The derivations from series production, particularly in terms of precision and performance, are of great value for our further development steps.”

The final lap time was just over two minutes, not a bad time for a self driving car around a Grand Prix level track. This makes the Audi RS 7 concept the fastest self driving car on the market.

Advanced technology

To navigate around the track, the RS 7 combined GPS data with the use of 3D cameras filming the car on the track. This gave the car its exact position at all times, allowing the onboard computer to control the car effortlessly. This allows the car to manoeuvre itself around the track within centimetres of its limits.

Autonomous or piloted driving has been a big focus of Audi, with the first breakthroughs coming ten years ago. Results of these tests are integrated within the development cycle. New technologies obtained from these tests are already being integrated, with Audi A6 and A7 Sportback benefiting with active lane assist, adaptive cruise control and Stop&Go functionality.

To watch a video of the Audi RS 7 completing its lap, click below. If you want to see the lap without the build up, skip to 14:15.

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