Audi has shaken up the autonomous car market recently with its self-driving RS 7 Concept when it raced in the Ascari racetrack in southern Spain. It’s the same car that recently broke the autonomous speed record in Germany, hitting 240KPH (149MPH) at the Hockenheimring. Rather than aiming to improve on its record, Audi is at Ascari to test its “piloted driving” system against the circuit’s more-challenging corners. It’s also there to see how people react to being driven, at speed, around the track.
Audi isn’t looking to release a fully automated car anytime soon. Introducing the concept, head of development Müller jibes at “certain company’s” efforts to build “robot taxis.” It’s clear Google’s bubble car doesn’t fit into Audi’s vision of the future. “We don’t want a car to be a device to carry you from A to B; we want you to love it, so we need to do things to make people love it.”
Take control away from the driver, Müller says, and you take away the pleasure of driving. Instead, he wants piloted driving introduced in situations “where the customer doesn’t have fun, where they’re bored or stressed.”