The boss of the Audi Sport division has indicated that he wants autonomous cars and that the brand is working on them, but he says there must be an ability to switch the technology off.
Speaking exclusively with CarAdvice at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, Audi sport boss Stephan Winkelmann said that autonomy is on the horizon for the brand.
“When we speak about this, it’s about assisted driving, which is helping you with traffic flow and all of this that is reducing your stress levels while driving the vehicle,” Winkelmann said.
“There are two things I am looking into, one for me is paramount that it can be switched off, the assisted driving, and that it’s still about having the hands on the wheel.”
Winkelmann’s approach to this technology is to ensure the driver always has the option to disable autonomous technology and assist features to take advantage of the car and its performance.
We know that the Audi sport range will expand from 11 models to 16 by 2020, with a full electric vehicle committed to the Audi Sport range from 2020.
“The R8 is our halo car. Our top car for the Audi sport range. Yesterday we launched the RWS series and now we are enlarging the product portfolio from 11 models to 16 by 2020. We will have an electric car in 2020 or 2021.”
“And yes, once you are at the peak and have some spare head, then you can rethink again about what is going to happen. We are already thinking about a new halo car, it could be an R8 replacement, or it could be a limited car, in very limited numbers like a one off. But the first step is enlarging the product portfolio” Winkelmann said.
It’s interesting times at Audi Sport with rumours that Winkelmann is about to depart to take the reigns of hypercar manufacturer Bugatti, rumours which he refused to confirm.
Do you think that there’s any need for autonomous vehicle technology in the Audi sport range?