Audi has recently been working on a pair of autonomous twins, named Robby and Jack. The latter is an Audi A7 and the former an Audi RS7. Both are capable of full level-three autonomy, which allows for completely autonomous highway driving under certain circumstances. While previous autonomous test vehicles are fitted with an incredible amount of computers and wiring in the cabin, Jack’s cabin seems completely normal and production ready. So Top Gear set out to see what it’s like to “drive” such an autonomous car.
With two buttons on the lower spokes of the steering wheel that must both be pressed simultaneously, Jack goes into full autonomous mode if the circumstances allow. If permitted, the buttons will turn green and so will the surround of a screen mounted above the HVAC controls and the steering wheel will retract a bit into the dash, giving the driver more room. The screen displays what Jack is doing and what it will do, such as change lanes or move around vehicle. From there, the “driver” is free to take their eyes off the road, talk to fellow passengers or read a book if they like. Jack has it from there.
Apparently, Jack drives remarkably human-like, keeping in the middle of lanes and even nudging to the outside of a lane to move around a large vehicle. It also speeds up appropriately, not too slow or too fast. It’s just very well calibrated and well made. Tesla’s Autopilot could take a look at some of Jack’s programming.
While this sort of level-three autonomous won’t be available until the next-gen Audi A8, which will be the world’s first vehicle to do so according to Audi, Jack is incredibly well done. It’s almost production ready as it is, according to Top Gear. It’s impressive what Audi has been able to do with Jack and we can’t wait to see what the four-ringed brand can do with the next A8.