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Audi unveils the fastest self-driving car yet in China
By RICHARD GRAY • 03/06/2015
Self-driving SUPERCAR: Audi unveils electric R8 e-tron that reaches 60mph in 3.9 seconds
It boasts two electric motors, can go 0 to 100 km/h in under four seconds and can reach a top speed of 250km/h – and it can drive itself.
Audi has unveiled its new electric supercar the R8 e-tron at the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai.
The vehicle uses laser scanners, video cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to build up a detailed picture of its surroundings allowing it to navigate through traffic.
Audi has unveiled its Audi R8 e-tron piloted concept car which uses an array of sensors around the vehicle to drive itself through traffic. Audi said the vehicle, which has a top speed of 155mph, will be a mobile laboratory
The self-driving car builds on the design of an earlier electric R8 design the company released earlier this year
While not the only company working on self driving cars, it seems Audi is attempting to build one of the fastest.
The company claims its concept vehicle has two battery-powered motors that deliver 340kW, allowing it to travel from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
Audi said the car would act as a 'high-tech mobile laboratory' for testing its technologies.
Data gathered from the scanners and sensors around the vehicle are sent to a central 'driver assistance control unit known as zFAS.
Although Audi did not release any details of tests involving the self-driving supercar, it has been testing its A7 Sportback on a route through Shanghai during the show.
Audi claims R8 e-tron can achieve 450km before it needs to be recharged and it can be recharged in less than two hours.
The name, shape and colour of the R8 e-tron were inspired 1982 science fiction film Tron, by Steven Lisberger.
A statement released by the company said: 'The R8 e-tron piloted driving technical study is equipped with all of the functions of piloted driving.
'Data is acquired from the interplay of an array of sensors: a new type of laser scanner, several video cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar sensors at the front and rear.
'Based on signals from these sources, the central driver assistance control unit (zFAS), a compact central computer, computes a comprehensive picture of the vehicle's environment.'
Audi also said it has used T-shaped batteries to help maximise the space inside the car and lower the centre of gravity.
The rear of the car is made of carbon fibre reinforced polymer and the luggage compartment walls are corrugated to absorb 'extreme amounts of energy' in case of a rear-end collision.
The rear luggage compartment is corrugated to help absorb energy should it be hit from behind by another car
The name, shape and colour of the R8 e-tron were inspired 1982 science fiction film Tron, by Steven Lisberger. A sequel called Tron: Legacy was released in 2010.
The design is presumably intended to help protect those inside the car should it fall foul of human drivers while piloting itself around the road.
The battery itself is based on new lithium-ion technology that has been specifically designed for the car.
Audi said: 'Optimised space utilisation and improved battery cell technology enabled this progress without requiring package modifications. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself.'
HACKERS POSE A DEADLY THREAT TO SELF-DRIVING CARS
Hackers pose a real danger to self-driving vehicles, US experts have warned.
Technologies like sensors, cameras, radar and the computer software that interprets the data could end up leave vehicles vulnerable to hacker strikes, according to US security firms Mission Secure Inc and Perrone Robotics Inc.
According to these experts, hackers penetrate the system through wireless connections.
The two security companies, working with the University of Virginia and the Pentagon, have run tests that have shown they believe it is possible to hack into and disrupt the multi-sensor system of self driving cars too.
One trial was able to change how the car responded when it encountered an obstacle, forcing the car to accelerate, rather than brake, even though the obstacle avoidance system detected an object in front of the car.
It comes after a hacker recently boasted of having entered the electronic systems of the US jet he was traveling on, and of having changed its trajectory. He claimed he did so using the in-flight Wi-Fi system.