We all know that autonomous cars are on their way. In a sort of Jetson’s-like future, most cars will be capable of fully driving themselves in only a few years time. Every automaker is working on its own variant of autonomous tech and driving aids. Audi is one of those brands and one that’s pushing the envelope faster than most, with a goal of 2018 to have the world’s first Level 4 Autonomous car (capable of driving on its own in most situations), in the Audi Q8. However, don’t think driving pleasure will be forgotten by the Audi brand once this happens.
Audi board member Dr Dietmar Voggenreiter recently spoke with Top Gear about this very subject and actually gave a very interesting new take on autonomy in performance cars. “We have clear ideas. Now, you take training when you go to track days. But in the next sports car, its autonomous mode may show you how to drive really fast, then give you feedback when you drive the next lap. Then it takes you out again and shows you better braking points.” said Voggenreiter.
Imagine that, driving on a track and having the car give you points of improvement afterward? That’s some weird, freaky, futuristic stuff. But very cool stuff.
“We talked about this with our designers, we called it ‘the ultimate track car’. This could be a sporty, fully autonomous car that drives you through to the traffic to the race track, so you’re fully relaxed for when you get to the race track, then switch to manual and enjoy yourself.” Voggenreiter told Top Gear. And this is a thought that we’ve heard from other brands before as well. The idea is that most car enthusiasts love to drive but hate being stuck in traffic. “There are a lot of ideas. We are also petrolheads so we like to drive cars. But nearly all Audi customers will find traffic jams super boring. I see it with the future RS6, when there’s traffic, you can switch to piloted drive.”
So the idea is that the car can be told to drive itself during the more mundane parts of a trip and the driver can then retake control when the roads get more fun. But Audi wants to throw some track training into the mix as well, allowing the car to actually teach its driver how to be faster. If it helps with speed and performance, we’re all for it.