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The Fastest Self-Driving Car In The World

October 21st, 2014

During the weekend the Audi RS 7 became the fastest self-driving car in the world by completing a lap of the Hockenheim GP in just over two minutes.

If this statement sounds crazy is because in part it is just that: crazy. Car technology has evolved so rapidly over the past few years since Google first showed off its clunky prototype. We all laughed at them, called them crazy but as it turns out they were once again on the verge of an inevitable evolution.

The Audi RS 7 has an enormous amount of technology packed inside (big surprise!) and you should head over the Audi website to learn more about it.

One of the reasons why I was particularly attracted to this news is that so far we’ve seen cars driving around in city environments, parking themselves or avoiding people walking in the middle of the road. As far as I can remember this is the first example of a self-driving racing car. Racing is an amazing sport because it doesn’t just require courage, but because it requires incredible skills to succeed. One of this being incredible precision, being able to follow the best race line to reduce time loss.

How does a self-driving car cope with that?

For orientation on the track, the technology pioneer uses specially corrected GPS signals. This GPS data is transmitted to the vehicle via WiFi according to the automotive standard and redundantly via high-frequency radio. In parallel to this, 3D cameras in the car film the track, and a computer program compares the cameras’ image information against a data set stored on board. This is what makes it possible for the technology pioneer to orient itself on the track within centimeters.

Within centimeters.

The video above clearly shows the huge achievement from Audi and paves the way for much of this technology as possible to transfer into our “civil” cars.

I just hope nobody would ever think that it might be ok to replace a competitive driver with a computer in a real-life race scenario.