Audi wants to showcase its autonomous driving technology at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in an effort to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities. To back up their tech, Audi recently let a team of journalists sit behind the wheel of an autonomous A7 concept that drove by itself from the Silicon Valley to Las Vegas—a total distance of more than 550 miles.
“The test drive from the west coast of California to Las Vegas demonstrates our leadership role in piloted driving “, said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member and Head of Technical Development. The test drive in real world traffic and road conditions represents a joint effort by the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) and Volkswagen Group Research and Development.
The A7 concept is able to drive itself at speeds below 70 mph thanks to the combination of radar sensors and laser cameras. The A7 concept can make lane changes and passing maneuvers on its own—but before initiating a lane change, the vehicle adapts its speed to surrounding vehicles. If the speed and distance calculation is deemed safe, the vehicle initiates the lane change with precision and in a timely manner. The A7 concept is only capable of driving autonomously on the highway, so once a city environment is detected the system requests that the driver take over with multiple warning signals.
Audi hasn’t announced when it will release an autonomous vehicle, but does state that the technologies are production ready for vehicle production in the near future.
Images via Audi