The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak made its first high-speed test runs up Pikes Peak in Colorado back in 2010 and only now the car received the permission to run on the public roads of Nevada. This allows Audi to become the first automaker to receive a license to test its autonomous models on public roads. Sure, the first license went to Google, but the tech giant doesn’t count since it’s not an automaker.
Audi’s autonomous TTS was developed in cooperation with the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University, and during its first test it completed the 156-turn, 12.42-mile Pikes Peak circuit in just 27 minutes.
The autonomous TTS uses two computers in its trunk – one running safety-critical algorithms using Oracle’s Real Time Java (Java RTS) and the other running vehicle dynamics algorithms. These two computers allow the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, while allowing the driver to take control over car at any second.
gallery: Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak
The State of Nevada issued to Audi only the second license allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles on the state’s public roads. This makes Audi the first automotive original equipment manufacturer to obtain this special permit. The first license went to technology giant Google.
Audi has been at the forefront of autonomous driving research. Among the early highlights was the 2010 achievement of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research car on the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in Colorado. That Audi research car, developed jointly by the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University, autonomously completed the 156-turn, 12.42-mile Pikes Peak circuit in just 27 minutes.
Today, Audi defines autonomous driving capabilities in terms of piloted parking and piloted driving. The term “piloted” is used advisedly, as Audi envisions motorists enjoying the convenience of allowing the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, for example, while still being able to take control of the car when needed. In this way, the technology is similar to auto-pilot systems found on jetliners. Likewise, autonomous, or piloted parking, would let future Audi models park safely without a driver at the wheel in in tight parking spaces.
Audi will provide updates on strategies involving its Audi piloted driving and piloted parking technologies at the Audi booth during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2013.