Published on July 13th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Lighter, quicker, smarter- meet Robby, Audi’s new robocar
It seems like all the high-end manufacturers are toying with the idea of piloted driving, but Audi is perhaps the first among them to confirm it’s introduction in the next generation of the Audi A8. For the most part, other manufacturers have systems like radar guided cruise control and autonomous parking, but never a system that functions as a driving package entirely.
And of course, Audi being very Vorsprung durch Technik decided to take that concept to an even further extreme. Last year, their autonomous RS7, Bobby, lapped the Hockenheim ring at neckbreaking speeds. It was considered to be quicker than what most drivers are capable of, and it was executed with lap-on-lap precision.
Naturally, Audi has started to translate this to real world applications as well- most notable of these being Jack, the autonomous A8 that transported journalists to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. And that’s fine and dandy and all, but for the hot-blooded car enthusiasts among us, a limousine that operates at up to 60 km/h simply isn’t going to cut the mustard.
And so the second coming of the autonomous RS7 is here. Tested at Sonoma Raceway in California is Robby, sporting a new orange-black livery that contrasts the grey-black livery on Bobby. But Robby isn’t just another autonomous track car. Audi has taken the effort to improve the technology and make it more compact. The result is a lap time of just over 2 minutes, which makes it astounding considering a Corvette Z06 is just 10 seconds quicker.
The result is a whopping 400 kilograms of weight savings, and that same sports car matching performance that was Bobby’s claim to fame. Perhaps all they have to do next is make it so these autonomous cars are entirely self learning, and then we’ll have some truly fearsome electronic opposition on our hands.