Outraced by a robot: Watch Audi’s autonomous RS 7 conquer the track

Stephen King’s Christine has finally come to life.

Instead of a murderous 1958 Plymouth Fury on the loose, though, the reign of Audi’s self-driving RS 7 will stop at the racetrack. Or so they say.

Joking aside, Audi’s piloted driving concept is a major feather in the German automaker’s cap. It’s much more Skynet than supernatural, anyway.

Audi’s 560-horsepower RS has been decked out with an array of computers, controllers, and sensors, with a dash of intelligence-granting algorithms thrown in on top.

The result? A hot lap of Germany’s Hockenheimring racetrack, completely sans-driver.

The autonomous showcase occurred at the season finale of German Touring Car (GTC) Championship this Sunday, and in anticipation of the event, Audi released a comprehensive testing video of the robo-RS 7 ripping around the track “with millimeter precision.”

Related: Audi stamps out RS 1 rumors, affirms upcoming RS 3’s status as entry-level performance car

First off, the self-driving sedan looks really cool, with an ultra modern black-and-white paintjob and an eerie futuristic vibe. It looks even better as it effortlessly targets and eliminates cornering apexes, constantly adjusting steering angles and throttle delivery like a professional driver would. It even learns as it goes.

“We put a lot of effort in the car, and the car is really able to also cope with situations that is was not directly taught. So it handles unexpected things very well,” said Audi piloted driving engineer Peter Bergmiller.

“The car will be at a top speed, for example, at around 240 kmh (149 mph), so that is basically what the RS 7 can do on a racetrack like Hockenheim,” Bergmiller continued. “We’re going into the curves, the cornering, just like a professional race driver. For example, we have lateral accelerations of more than 1 g.”

Not bad for a few laptops and cameras.

Watch the full stream of the event here. The lap starts at 14:25.

(Video hosted by Motorsport Magazine)


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