We've been so focused on the safety of self-driving cars we haven't really given the technology a chance to show off.
Nascar drivers, look out. Autonomous technology could be literally giving you a run for your money. On Monday, car company Nio announced that just a few days prior, one of its autonomous vehicles set a new record for the fastest ever self-driven lap at the Circuit of the Americas Race Track (COTA) in Austin, Texas. On Thursday, the Nio EP9 drove itself around the track in just two minutes and 40.33 seconds, hitting a top speed of 160 mph. The Nio EP9 also set a new record for the fastest COTA lap time for a production car with a driver, with a lap time of 2:11, hitting a top speed of 170 mph.
Padmasree Warrior, CEO of Nio U.S., lauded the accomplishment. “At Nio, we are all about raising the bar for the entire automotive industry,” Warrior said. “Breaking records with the Nio EP9 demonstrates our automotive and technology expertise to be a leader in the global market. Our goal is to be the best next-generation car company, by delivering autonomous vehicles with amazing experiences for people all over the world.”
The executive gave credit to Nio’s Silicon Valley-based team, which managed to deliver this incredible vehicle in just four months.
Nio is no stranger to setting and breaking records. In October, the Nio EP9 became the fastest electric car in the world, setting a record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. The EP9 boasts four high-performance inboard motors and four individual gearboxes and a full megawatt of power (1,342 brake horsepower). With a zero to 124 (forget 60) mph speed of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 194 mph, this is one seriously fast car.
“We are honored to be a part of Nio’s amazing lap record and see performance and autonomy coexist,” said COTA Chief Operating Officer Katja Heims. “We all know that autonomous vehicles are part of the future and this new record is further proof.”