Fully Autonomous Audi A7 Drives 550 Miles from San Fran to Vegas

Tomorrow kicks off the beginning of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, the official locale for any techie wet dream. Hearing the words “Electronic Show” might naturally turn off some car enthusiasts, but it shouldn’t; gadgets and cell phones won’t be the only things shown. This event will also be flaunting some of today’s most advanced automotive innovations.

audi3One of the most anticipated showcases at this year’s show will undoubtedly be Audi’s autonomous A7 concept– a ride that the company hopes to have on the road by 2016.

Using a series of sensors and cameras (including long-range radar sensors, a series of 4 cameras mounted on the front and back of the vehicle, side-assist driving aids, and two mid-range radar sensors that complete a 360 degree view), the A7 is able to drive itself between speeds of 0 and 70 miles per hour. It’s even capable of making lane changes and passing maneuvers.

Want proof?

Well, the fully autonomous car has actually been making national headlines since Saturday when it began a 550 mile trek from San Francisco to the show destination– Las Vegas, Nevada– to prove it’s full range of capabilities. For the ride, Audi even opened up their doors and let a number of engineers and journalists sit behind the wheel to get the full experience.

Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member and Head of Technical Development, says, “The test drive from the west coast of California to Las Vegas demonstrates our leadership role in piloted driving. The test drive in real world traffic and road conditions represents a joint effort by the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) und Volkswagen Group Research and Development, begins today (January 4) in Stanford, Calif.”

audi2He also added, “The top performance by the Audi RS 7 today substantiates the skills of our development team with regard to piloted driving at Audi. The derivations from series production, particularly in terms of precision and performance, are of great value for our further development steps.”

This A7 showcase isn’t the first time that Audi has made big-time headlines when it comes to autonomous driving. In years past, at this very same event, Audi has showcased a vehicle that could crawl through traffic by itself and another ride that could park itself.  Late last year, the company even made a video of the Audi RS7 speeding around a German track at speeds hovering upwards of 150 miles per hour (see video below).

As for the A7, Audi isn’t quite ready for a wide scale release because they are still refining its in-traffic navigation capabilities. When that’s done, it’ll be game-on for the public to start clawing for one at dealerships.


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