Audi claims self-drive car speed record at 240km/h
German car giant Audi claims its RS7 vehicle topped 149mph (240km/h) while driving uncrewed round the Hockenheim racing circuit, south of Frankfurt.
The car took just over two minutes to complete a lap of the Grand Prix track.
The stunt was organised to highlight the firm’s efforts to bring “piloted driving” to road vehicles. But one expert cautioned that several hurdles still needed to be overcome.
Audi – a division of Volkswagen – also put a human behind the wheel of the vehicle for a comparison lap. He took five seconds longer to complete the circuit.
A member of the car company’s research team explained that it believed the innovation could ultimately be used by the public.
“I know accident-free driving will remain a vision. But at least we can reduce the number of accidents in the future,” said Dr Horst Glaser.
“Piloted driving defuses situations like, for example, being in a traffic jam. Whenever the driver is distracted and inattentive the car could take over.
“Additionally the driver has a chance to relax. That means they are on full alert as soon as their attention is required again.”
Other car companies including Daimler, Volvo, Toyota, Tesla and BMW are also experimenting with artificial intelligence-directed vehicles, as are other tech firms including Google, Panasonic and Autolive.