Accessories & Tech Audi

Driverless Audi RS7 laps Hockenheim

Audi RS7 piloted driving, Hockenheim

Audi has been leading the way in the world of driverless technology and that was further highlighted in a live demonstration during the season-ending DTM round at Hockenheim on the weekend.

With the strangely named Audi piloted driving technology onboard, making it sound like the car has a pilot at the wheel, a driverless RS7 lapped the famed German grand prix track in just over two minutes, reaching a maximum speed of 240km/h. Apparently that’s a world record top speed for a driverless car.

The specially prepared RS7 used a combination of GPS, WiFi, high-frequency radio and 3D cameras to guide itself around the circuit. As you’ll see in the highlights video below the accuracy of the car’s cornering lines is very good and so too the positioning of the car in the pole position grid spot at the end of its lap.

If you think the end is nigh and we’ll all one day have the joys of driving taken away from us, Audi has this to say:

It might sound futuristic, but it’s already at the starting gates. For Audi, piloted driving is one of the top drivers of innovation in the coming years and is a logical, evolutionary step in the development of the car. It’s an evolution that has the potential to revolutionise the experience of driving a car. And one thing is certain: If it is up to Audi’s engineers, the feeling of freedom and the fun of sporty driving will be maintained – because there is a choice. Piloted driving is not a “must”, but rather something you “can” select. Audi will never build robot cars, but instead will always put the driver in the focus of its decisions.

Accessories & Tech BMW

BMW shows off self-drifting skills

BMW self-drifting cars

“Look mum, no hands!”

BMW showed off some pretty cool things at CES in Las Vegas last week, but we don’t think anything was cooler than the M235i and 6 Series Gran Coupé which both featured what BMW calls ActiveAssist, or “highly automated driving”, part of its ConnectedDrive system. You and I would call it self-drifting!

BMW says ActiveAssist is designed to act as “a safety assistance system which brings the vehicle back into line in demanding driving situations without any input from the driver.”

On the one hand it’s pretty clever that car makers can develop driver assistance systems that are able to step-in and regain control of the car in an emergency. On the other hand, of course, we’d all like to keep driving thanks. If we want to catch a cab we’ll do that, and have the added bonus of having a driver to tell us what’s wrong with the government of the day.

Anyway, you can read more about ActiveAssist after the break. Right now we know you just want to see the video of the M235i and it’s mad self-drifting skillz. It’s first up after the break.

Accessories & Tech Audi

Driverless Audi TTS conquers Pikes Peak

Autonomous Audi TTS

The propeller heads at Stanford University said they could do it. And now they have. “It”, of course, is the none too difficult task of sending a car up the daunting Pikes Peak International Hill Climb without a driver on board. Giving the motoring world a new term—drive-by-wireless—the autonomous Audi TTS managed to complete the 20 kilometre course without a hitch.

Unfortunately, there was a glitch of sorts when a helicopter tracking the Audi’s ascent crashed and the pilot ended up in hospital. Thankfully the pilot is now doing well and the story of the little TTS that could is being told.

There’s a couple of brief vids after the break to make you go, “Oh wow, how did they do that!”

[Source: engadget | Thanks to Tim for the tip]

Accessories & Tech Audi

Blind faith

Stanford University - Autonomous Audi TTS

You may remember news from November last year about a driverless Audi TTS being prepared to conquer Pikes Peak. Stamford University are providing the technology required to achieve this goal and they recently ran an article on their online newsletter giving some further background on the car they’ve named ‘Shelley’.

Even better than that, there is also a YouTube clip of the car being put through its paces (available after the jump). The Stanford team have even taken the car to the Bonneville Salt Flats and “driven” the car at speeds in excess of 200km/h.

Not content with merely driving Miss Daisy to the summit, the Stanford crew want Shelley to tackle the hill climb at race pace. Chris Gerdes, leader of the graduate research team says, “Our goal is to show that we can do this.

“There are some sheer drops at Pikes Peak in which any sort of self-preservation kicks in and you slow down a bit. We want to go up at the speed that few normal drivers would ever think of attempting.”

Nice! Shelley’s attempted run up Pikes Peak is scheduled for September.

[Source: Stanford University News]

Accessories & Tech Audi

Blind turn

Driverless Audi TTS

An Audi TTS is being modified to tackle one of the world’s most daunting roads, the 9390ft Pikes Peak Hill Climb. nothing so newsworthy about that until you realise this car does not have a driver behind the wheel. The car currently has a whole bunch of driverless gizmos stuffed in the boot, but the propeller heads from Stanford University preparing the car plan to use real time Java algorithms to replace the driver. Live telemetry updates can be transmitted to and from the car as far as 30km away.

Dr Burkhard Huhnke, executive director of the Electronics Research Laboratory, Stanford University, said, “We believe that developing a car that can perform as well and respond as rapidly as a ‘professional’ driver, like a race or rally driver, will eventually be able to drive its way around incidents in a way that a ‘normal’ driver couldn’t.

“While a less experienced driver may freeze or make the wrong ‘correction’, the Autonomous TTS would be able to take over or guide the driver to escape from a critical situation. It could also compensate if a driver is inattentive to conditions or distracted but of course, it won’t prevent all accidents.”

While we must take Dr Huhnke’s words at face value, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination too far to see how this technology, coupled with GPS-linked speed limiters, could make driving, well, a thing of the past.

Such an outcome would mean that classic films like Climb dance could be all we have to show our grand children to explain what fun driving used to be.