At its second race course appearance this year in Sonoma, California, Audi trimmed the weight-reduced RS 7 for even higher performance. For some time now, Audi has been testing piloted driving under increasingly challenging conditions. In October 2014, an RS 7 with the project name “Bobby” already completed a driverless lap of the Hockenheimring at speeds of up to 240 km/h (149.1 mph). The current generation of the car is named “Robby,” and is powered by a 4.0 TFSI V8 biturbo engine with a power output of 412 kW (560 hp). Robby is around 400 kg (881.8 lb) lighter than the previous model. In July 2015, Robby had already thrilled the American public when it drove on the Sonoma Raceway in California without an active driver, turning in lap times that were better than those of sports car drivers.
Whether it is braking, steering or accelerating, the piloted car controls all driving functions – fully automated and with high precision. Audi is also testing piloted driving in the challenging situation of real road traffic. In early 2015, “Jack” – an Audi A7 piloted driving concept car – autonomously drove the 900 km (559.2 mi) route from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas with journalists aboard. Shortly thereafter, this car also drove autonomously at speeds of up to 130 km/h(80.8 mph) on German autobahns. At CES Asia in May 2015, journalists experienced piloted driving in the complex traffic of mega-city Shanghai. And in October 2015, Audi demonstrated automatic emergency evasive maneuvers of a test vehicle with moving obstacles in the urban environment.
Audi technologies for piloted driving stand for the principles of safety, time savings, efficiency and convenience. The systems can make a valuable contribution toward safety, especially when the driver is overwhelmed or underwhelmed by driving tasks. When used to temporarily assume driving tasks, the predictive technology makes driving more efficient, reduces stress and enhances comfort. In addition, it gives drivers greater freedom for organizing their time in the car. Piloted driving will make its production debut in the next generation of the luxury-class sedan, the Audi A8. The systems can assume driving tasks during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph).