After debuting the Audi RS7 Sportback Piloted Driving Concept late last year, the German marque has just unveiled the updated and extensively improved RS7 Sportback Piloted Driving Concept.
As with the previous car, the new one features a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 560 hp just like all other RS7 models. However, it weighs about 400 kg less than last year’s concept. While Audi has yet to reveal how it has managed to save so much weight, it has been confirmed that the new RS7 Sportback Piloted Driving Concept lapped California’s 4.05 km long Sonoma Raceway in a very impressive 2:01.01 minutes.
Discussing the lap, boss of Audi’s brake, steering and drive assistance systems at Audi, Thomas Muller, said “In Sonoma, we took the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept to its physical limits lap after lap, and it handled the task with uniform precision. The car turned in lap times that were better than those of sports car drivers.”
The Audi RS7 Sportback Piloted Driving Concept is an important vehicle for the automaker with it helping to develop the autonomous driving functions of the next-generation Audi A8. In the new A8, the piloted driving system will be able to take control of the car during parking manoeuvres as well as in stop-start traffic at speeds of up to 60 km/h.
“Piloted driving at Audi is approaching production readiness at race pace. On one of the world’s most challenging race tracks, the Sonoma Raceway in California, the latest generation of the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept has surpassed previous top performances once again. Audi will be offering piloted driving for the first time in the upcoming generation of the Audi A8.
“In Sonoma, we took the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept to its physical limits lap after lap, and it handled the task with uniform precision,” says Thomas Müller, who is responsible for the development of brake, steering and driver assistance systems at Audi. “The car turned in lap times that were better than those of sports car drivers.” The RS 7 took just 2:01.01 minutes to complete the 4,050-meter (2.5 mi) circuit.
For some time now, Audi has been testing piloted driving under increasingly challenging conditions. In October 2014, an RS 7 nicknamed “Bobby” already completed a driverless lap on the Hockenheimring at speeds up to 240 km/h (149.1 mph). The new generation of the car is named “Robby,” has a power output of 412 kW (560 hp) and is around 400 kg (881.8 lb) lighter than its predecessor. Whether braking, steering or accelerating, the piloted car controls all driving functions fully autonomously and with maximum precision.
Audi is also testing piloted driving in the challenging situation of real road traffic.
At the start of 2015, “Jack” – an Audi A7 piloted driving concept with many near-production solutions – drove on public highways from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Shortly thereafter, this car also drove autonomously on German autobahns at speeds up to 130 km/h (80.8 mph). At CES Asia in May 2015, journalists also had an opportunity to experience piloted driving – in the traffic of megacity Shanghai.
The development work, which includes driving on a very wide array of testing grounds, is yielding valuable knowledge for series-production systems – from the sensor technology and data processing to vehicle control and stabilization.
The technologies for piloted driving stand for safety, time savings, efficiency and convenience. The systems can make a valuable contribution to safety, especially when the driver is overwhelmed or underwhelmed by driving tasks. In addition, it gives drivers greater freedom for organizing their time in the car. When used to temporarily assume driving tasks, the predictive technology makes driving more efficient, reduces stress and enhances comfort. Piloted driving will make its production debut in the next generation of the luxury-class sedan, the Audi A8. The systems can assume control of the car during parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph).
Audi RS 7 Sportback: Fuel consumption figures Audi RS 7 Sportback 4.0 TFSI quattro: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9,5; Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 220.
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data as well as the efficiency classes are dependent on the choice of wheels and tyres.”