Audi's R8 e-tron electric sports car now drives itself
Revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the Audi R8 e-tron is already a technological tour de force. Its combination of battery-powered range and speed is equalled only by the Tesla Model S. At the inaugural CES Asia show, Audi made the R8 e-tron even more high-tech, rolling its autonomous driving suite into the electric coupe. The R8 e-tron piloted driving concept can unleash 456-hp worth of performance on the street ... without a driver stepping on the pedal.
It doesn't appear that Audi's done much testing of the R8 e-tron piloted driving concept, so we're not sure if the car can meet its full performance potential in autonomous mode. We're guessing the ride is dialed down a couple notches from the heights a skilled driver could take it. More than a means of seriously testing electric performance within an autonomous system, the concept car seems more a clever way for Audi to add a little trade-show flash to its autonomous driving technology, while shining the spotlight on the other cool tech in the production R8 e-tron.
The R8 e-tron's standard tech includes a 92-kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery providing up to 279.6 miles (450 km) of range, a 456-hp (340-kW) dual-motor powertrain with enough oomph to take the car from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds, and a new multi-material Space Frame. To that, Audi adds a full autonomous driving suite to create the piloted R8 concept, which it classifies a "technical study." Data from the newly developed laser scanner, the video cameras, the ultrasonic sensors and the radar sensors is sent to the central driver assistance control unit (zFAS). That central computer then recreates an accurate picture of the car's surroundings to empower human-less decision making and actuation.
Audi didn't mention any test drives of the R8 e-tron piloted driving concept, but it did offer CES Asia journalists the opportunity to ride aboard a piloted A7 Sportback on a 9.3-mi (15-km) route through Shanghai. Hopefully it will do the same with the R8 e-tron at a future auto show as the idea of experiencing Audi's latest self-driving technology aboard its hottest sports car is quite appealing, to say the least.