Last year, Audi introduced “Bobby”, an autonomous concept based on the RS7 Sportback which has now evolved and goes by the name of “Robby”. It has made the switch from a white & black paint scheme to a red & black livery, but the most substantial change is underneath the familiar skin as the engineers from Ingolstadt were able to shave off no less than 400 kg. This is a mighty impressive diet which means the hardware necessary for driverless cars is developing at a very fast pace.
Audi has already put the updated RS7 piloted driving concept through its paces recently in California, United States on the Sonoma Raceway. The high-powered autonomous vehicle was able to complete a lap (without any human assistance) in 2 minutes and 1 second, with Audi saying that it was quicker than most drivers who tackle the 4.05-meter long circuit.
The concept is obviously based on the recently facelifted Audi RS7 Sportback which went on sale in India back in May for a starting price of Rs. 1.4 Crores (Ex. Showroom). It has the same twin-turbo V8 4.0-liter engine pushing out 552 bhp sent to a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It is very important to mention that these driverless concepts developed by Audi are a taste of what’s to come as the next generation A8 flagship model has already been confirmed to gain an optional autonomous driving system. The model is due to come out in Europe sometime in 2017 after being pushed back for around 12 month as Audi’s engineers want to perfect this groundbreaking technology which should put Volkswagen’s premium marque ahead of its segment rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series. However, being a new technology, it will probably cost an arm and a leg so only a handful of people will initially tick the box on the options list, but hopefully it will get more affordable with time and trickle down to lesser models across Audi’s range.