During this year’s CES, Audi spoke about how it would start testing its latest autonomous technology at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Sacramento. This isn’t the first time Audi has done autonomous testing on race tracks, in fact Audi has done quite a lot of it. However, that was more of a technical exercise to get an autonomous Audi RS7 to lap a track as fast as possible. This will be more of a test to see how its autonomous vehicles react at high speed, the sort of testing that can’t be done on public roads.
The purpose of this, according to Audi, is to test the technologies abilities to react to sudden changes and at high speeds. Stanford University previously used this very same track for autonomous driving testing with an Audi vehicle as well, so this isn’t a new idea.
Audi needs to get its self-driving program underway and get its technology up to par, as its competitors aren’t waiting up for them. BMW just showed off its new automated lifestyle “Internet of Things” exhibit at CES and Tesla is working hard on its Autopilot system. Mercedes-Benz recently had an autonomous vehicle driving around San Fransisco for a little while. So Audi is a bit behind the eight ball in this field.
However, Audi has said that the next-generation Audi A8 will have fully autonomous capabilities and will be debuting at CES, so maybe Audi will be able to get back in the game.