The Audi RS7 Sportback that will attempt to drive itself around the Hockenheimring at racing speeds this weekend will debut a number of new technologies for the German luxury car maker.
The RS7 Piloted Driving Concept Car features “specially corrected GPS signals” for orientation around the track that are accurate down to one centimetre. This data combines with 3D camera images that are compared in real time with graphical information stored on board, such as building patterns behind the track, to develop even more precise positioning information.
Audi says the comprehensive on-board networking system that links the RS7 Sportback’s electromechanical power steering, brake, throttle valve, eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and mechanical quattro all-wheel-drive system has been tested over thousands of kilometres to ensure it performs at the car’s physical limits.
If all goes to plans, the 412kW/700Nm 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8-powered Audi RS7 Piloted Driving Concept Car will drive a clean racing line around the 4.6km Hockenheimring, with full throttle on the straights, full braking before corners, precise turn-in and perfectly measured acceleration on exits.
Audi is predicting a lap time of 2:10 with a top speed of 240km/h, and forces over 1.3g under braking and up to 1.1g when accelerating – all without a driver on board.
Audi says the racetrack is the most demanding test bed for production when it comes to piloted autonomous driving. The car maker acknowledges that future systems for publically available road cars must assess the current conditions and work extremely precisely and without error in critical situations, whether crawling through traffic or performing at the car’s physical limits.
Audi says the RS7 Piloted Driving Concept Car provides its engineers with a unique platform to gain a variety of insights for development of autonomous driving technologies for future production cars.