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I'd like to introduce you to Bobby. Now, Bobby is an autonomous Audi RS7 and that means he
can drive himself. We've come to the Ascari racing circuit here in Spain to see if autonomous
Bobby can go round the track faster than I can when I'm driving a normal RS7. Hopefully
he can't because, if he can, it's going to be a little bit embarrassing for me. Just
like a normal RS7, Bobby has a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with 560 horsepower. However, he is also
fitted with radars, cameras, specialist GPS to sense where he is on the track, with a
small computer in his boot decides how to steer, brake and accelerate to follow the
racing line at the optimum speed. Clever technology, but surely not as clever as human. To find
out, I went out first in a normal RS7 to see how fast I could lap Ascari. The time for
Bobby to beat is two minutes, 12.5 seconds. So, could he do it? I was about to go for
the most unusual passenger ride of my life. So Klaus, the car is driving driving itself,
we're coming to first chicane here and you're not going to do anything. I don't know why
I'm putting my hands up! So I should point out that Klaus is here for mainly legal reasons
because, if something was to go wrong, we need a human to be there to be in charge of
the vehicle. He's doing absolutely nothing. As you can see he's not using his hands on
the wheel at all and I can assure you his feet aren't touching the pedals either. They're
not, are they Klaus? This is a very surreal experience. So, what I'm going to do to prove
that Klaus isn't doing anything, I'm going to hand him my camera phone and he's going
to take a selfie of us as we go down this straight. So we're going to go down here maybe
around 100mph down this straight and we're doing a selfie. I'm going to post this to
my Facebook page, there we go, and if you just dab that button there we can post it.
So that's now uploaded to my Facebook which Klaus did while we're going round a track
at quite a lot of speed and if you go to my Facebook page you should be able to see my
selfie there. This is most unusual, Klaus. Not for you, it's your day job to do this
- normally I'm doing the driving. We're trusting Bobby. He's got very good lines actually.
See how he takes this apex. It's those really tight corners that are the most impressive
- can he nail this apex? Yeah - well done Bobby, smashed it. That's awesome that bit
where it's slowing down and you can feel the car squirming and it's controlling it. And
there we go, that was our lap wasn't it? So you are in full control of Bobby now, aren't
you? It's driving like a normal car. I think you'll probably agree with me, that was quite
impressive. In the end Bobby logged a lap time of 2 minute, 14.6 seconds, so not quite
as quick as me. But not far off. I can't say I've ever experienced that before. Well Klaus
that was really interesting with the car driving itself like that, but it's quite an impressive
thing the way it even counter steers if it wants to - quite surprised how capable it
is out there. Hopefully it's not going to be as fast as…That's a little bit odd, has
it ever done that before? It's never done this before. It appears that Bobby's gone
off for a lap on its own, obviously wants to have a bit more fun. That's a bit strange.
Audi says the technology in Bobby will be available in road cars by the end of the decade,
but don't worry, it doesn't want to create driverless taxis like Google does. The idea
will be to put the car in autonomous mode for the boring bits of the journey like driving
on the motorway or finding a parking space, but the human will be able to take over when
they want to have some fun. Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Self-driving Audi RS7 takes us for a ride

1533 Folder Collection
Kwum Sing Ho published on April 14, 2016
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