The Audi RS7 Piloted Driving Concept, Ingolstadt’s latest effort into self-driving cars, made its track debuted during this weekend’s DTM round at the Hockenheim track. The high-performance sedan raced the course with no driver behind the wheel and completed the lap in a little over two minutes; a great achievement for a car driven with help from GPS signals transmitted through a WiFi connection, 3D cameras and on-board computer programs.

Although it was far from being completed at actual "racing speeds," as claimed by Audi, the run saw the RS7 reach speeds of more than 100 mph, which sets a whole new benchmark for autonomous vehicles. Granted, this is a huge improvement over the self-driving TT that completed the Pikes Peak hill climb course in 27 minutes with a top speed of 45 mph in 2010.

As a brief reminder, the Piloted Driving Concept uses the same 4.0-liter V-8 engine as the regular RS7. This means the sedan has 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, which enables it to reach a top speed of 189 mph. Although there are no specific plans to put this concept car into production, Audi says it will continue to develop the self-driving system, with more demonstrations to come.

Meanwhile, hit the play button above to watch the RS7 lap the Hockenheim track on its own.


Press Release

At the DTM season finale, Audi demonstrated the sheer fascination of piloted driving. The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept completed a lap on the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim – at racing speed, without a driver.

Audi scored yet another major success in the development of piloted driving: Before the season finale of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), the latest technology pioneer was running up to its physical limit, with no driver. It took the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept just slightly over two minutes to complete a lap on the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim – piloted with high precision and accuracy to within centimeters.

“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.”

For orientation on the track, the technology pioneer uses specially corrected GPS signals. This GPS data is transmitted to the vehicle via WiFi according to the automotive standard and redundantly via high-frequency radio. In parallel to this, 3D cameras in the car film the track, and a computer program compares the cameras’ image information against a data set stored on board. This is what makes it possible for the technology pioneer to orient itself on the track within centimeters.

Piloted driving is one of the most important development fields at Audi: The first successful developments were achieved ten years ago. The test results continually flow into series development. The latest test runs at the physical limit are providing the Audi engineers with insights for the development of automatic avoidance functions in critical driving situations, for example.

Driver assistance systems from Audi are already making driving more relaxed and better controlled. These systems’ highest level of development can be experienced in the updated Audi A6* and Audi A7 Sportback* model series. The offerings include Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, and adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go function including Audi pre sense front.

Experts from Volkswagen Group Research, the Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) and Stanford University (both in California) are supporting Audi as partners in the further development of piloted systems.

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