American Marketer


Audi pushes autonomous driving to its limits through testing agreement

January 7, 2016

Audi's autonomous A7 concept car Audi's autonomous A7 concept car


German automaker Audi is putting autonomous driving to the test through a multiyear partnership with Thunderhill Raceway Park.

Audi has previously used the track in California to glean information for the development of self-driving technology, but this new collaboration will expand their testing access, allowing them to focus on gathering data about the performance of these vehicles under extreme speeds. While self-driving cars may seem like a futuristic concept, a number of automakers are looking ahead to make automated driving a reality.

Testing ground
During this partnership, Audi engineers will work with a team from the Electronics Research Lab in Belmont, CA to explore how autonomous cars act at top speeds. This will help them create software for the vehicles that can perform under extreme conditions.

Audi has plans to release piloted driving, its version of highly automated technology, for its A8 sedan within a few years.

“Thunderhill provides a perfect setting to safely test the wide range of systems that will make highly automated driving a reality in the new future,” said Ewald Goessmann, director of Electronics Research Lab, in a statement.

Audi piloted etron R8

Audi R8 e-tron piloted driving

In addition to closed tracks, Audi will continue to test these cars on freeways and streets.

Last year, Audi showed that its A7 autonomous concept vehicle can seamlessly meld into traffic by going on a 560-mile test drive.

Audi piloted its concept vehicle, nicknamed “Jack,” from Silicon Valley, CA to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. In a time when many automakers are unveiling and testing autonomous driving experiences, showing the realistic implications can help consumers learn to trust the latest technologies (see story).

Consumers are becoming more interested in autonomous driving.

Safety and price concerns deter many from self-driving vehicles, but the technology and the potential for a decrease in accidents have consumers intrigued by the futuristic driving, according to a recent report from The Harris Poll.

Many consumers have been anticipating a self-driving car for decades, assuming even the flying car from “The Jetsons” might be a reality in the future, but when it comes to physically driving in these vehicles, most become wary. As production teams work to improve the vehicle technology of autonomous automobiles, marketing teams have to strive to improve the mindset of consumers around the world (see story).