Audi is making news this week by sending their self-driving A7 Sportback development car off on a 550-mile trip from Silicon Valley, CA to Las Vegas for CES 2015—they tried this last year, but the driver had to take over when the system failed. The car, which has been nicknamed Jack, started its journey yesterday and pilots itself from 0 to 70mph. It can handle lane changes, passing maneuvers, braking, and acceleration all on its lonesome. Let's just hope that the journalists along for the ride won't have to take the wheel this time.
"The test drive from the west coast of California to Las Vegas demonstrates our leadership role in piloted driving ,“ says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member and Head of Technical Development. Audi promises that the concept car is nearly production ready, full of various sensors that help the auto keep a close watch on the road. The front and rear are taken care of by long range sensors (adaptive cruise control and the Audi side assist), while two mid-range sensors handle the left and right sides. "A new hi-resolution 3D video camera, already integrated into the next generation systems found in the new Q7, takes a wide-angle view out in front of the vehicle. Four small front and rear mounted cameras view closer surroundings."
Once the A7 reaches the city, the driver will be taking over to make sure its driven safely in the new trafficked environment. The journalist test drivers were themselves trained, each one "driving" in the car for around 100 miles while using the piloted system—with a trained Audi driver next to them, of course. Once they arrive, the auto marquee will present "Next Chapter" at the technology event, which runs January 6-9.