Audi race ahead with Autonomous RS7

Audi is racing ahead with autonomous car technology having unveiled a faster and lighter version of the RS7 Piloted Driving Concept.

The autonomous RS7 has been dubbed ‘Robby’ and this latest version carries over all of the kit, including sensors, cameras and GPS radars, from the previous Audi RS7 Piloted Concept. However it has significantly shed 400kg in its latest form.

This is likely to play a key role for Audi’s all-new A8 saloon due next year – the premium brand’s first production model set to feature autonomous driving tech, with less weight meaning reduced running costs and improved performance.

Robby the self-driving RS7 was put to the test at the Sonoma Raceway in California, where it lapped the 2.5-mile circuit in 2:01.01.

Power remains unchanged in the updated version, with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 developing 552bhp but having shed 400kg acceleration has improved although Audi has not yet released any performance figures.

Audi’s head of development of brakes, steering and driver aids, Thomas Muller said, ‘We took the RS7 piloted driving concept to its physical limits at Sonoma, and it posted lap times better than those of sports-car drivers.’

Audi is now developing series-production systems, refining its sensor and data processing capabilities, and teaching it the workings of car control and stabilisation. According to Audi the next-generation A8, which is set to debut in 2017, will be able to park itself and drive itself in stop-go traffic on motorways at up to 60km/h.