Another self-driving Audi RS 7 dominated a race track. This time around, an Audi RS 7 named “Robby” lapped the Sonoma Raceway in Northern California, successfully completing yet another round of testing of Audi’s self-driving, piloted driving technology.
The circuit is around 2.5 miles long and Audi claims Robby’s best lap time clocked in at 2:01.01 minutes. In a release, Thomas Müller, Audi's head of brakes, steering, and driver assistance systems, said Robby's times were "better than those of sports car drivers." The automaker says the autonomous RS 7 completed the task with “uniform precision” and no issues to report.
Robby is a follow-up to Bobby, another autonomous RS 7 that was the first autonomous car to complete a lap at the Hockenheimring track in Germany. Audi says Robby is significantly lighter, shaving 882 pounds compared to Bobby. Most of the weight savings presumably comes from smaller and lighter hardware dedicated to the autonomous driving system.
Audi has showcased its piloted driving system on open public roads as well. Earlier this year an autonomous A7 named “Jack”, for example, completed a 560-mile trek from Silicon Valley to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and similar demonstrations took place in Germany and Shanghai.
These important tests will eventually lead to Audi’s first production vehicle with autonomous driving technology – the next-generation A8 sedan. Expected to debut in the next few years, the new A8 will be able to take over driving duties at speeds of up to 37 mph.