We all learned from Gran Turismo that The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the most difficult races in the world. It was hard enough on a Playstation controller, imagine doing it with a steering wheel.
Audi is no stranger to Pikes Peak, having dominated the uphill race back in the 80's. Now they want to regain that dominance, but with none of the mess of pilot error. Last September, the German automaker managed to secure its place in Pikes Peak once more, but this time, without a driver.
Yes, robots have invaded racing. Audi had spent the better part of the year collaborating with Stanford University and Volkswagen Innovation Lab to develop a fully autonomous Audi TTS. The robot car made five runs in a week-long period of testing, and the whole event was certified by the organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
It's not fast; the TTS took 27 minutes to complete the course at its fastest, a good 17 minutes shy of the average competition-level attempt. Still, it did so without any driver at all, which was the point to all the effort. Audi hopes that the lessons learned from this exercise will help them develop cars that drive smoother and safer.
Audi stressed that they're not going to take the human out of the driving equation, but then again they were talking to people. Who knows what they whisper to their robotic masters when nobody's around.
[source: Wired magazine]