Like many automakers, Volkswagen’s Audi brand is relentlessly pursuing autonomous driving technology. So far, that work has taken the form of several different iterations of an “Audi RS7 Piloted concept,” and cumulatively, the cars have seen use on the Hockenheimring, at the Autobahn, on the public freeways of California, and even through the traffic of Shanghai.
More recently, though, the latest Audi RS7 Piloted concept lit-up the Sonoma Raceway in California, setting a new performance benchmark for Audi’s autonomous concepts, and out-driving plenty of professional race drivers. Its best pace for the outing: 2 minutes, 1 second, at an average speed of around 74 mph.
It’s an extraordinary accomplishment along the development timeline of the driverless car, and one which (perhaps regrettably) puts the technology one step closer to production.
Audi Engineer Thomas Müller, who oversees development of the marque’s braking, steering, and driving assistance systems, said of the recent testing: “In Sonoma, we took the Audi RS7 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.”