According to Audi, the best way to avoid a mind-numbing stretch of highway is to let the car do the driving. Audi has showed off its “piloted driving” technology before, but the company’s latest stunt is a two-day, long distance journey that’s specifically timed to the start of the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens today in Las Vegas and is intended to showcase technology that’s “production ready.” The A7, affectionately named “Jack,” left San Francisco Sunday and will arrive in Vegas 566 miles later.
The vehicle is equipped with 20 sensors to help the car stay with the flow of traffic (it can drive as fast as 70 mph) and switch lanes without having to play bumper cars. The technology also includes laser scanners, a 3D camera and radar that provides a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings. Even with all that technology, there’s still room inside the vehicle for a coterie of journalists and engineers. Audi trained the group of journos in the weeks leading up to CES (a driver has to manually take the wheel when the car reaches an urban area, for example). Each journalist will drive approximately 100 miles with the piloted driving system, accompanied by a professional test driver. Those wishing to (virtually) follow the car can check do so via the Twitter hashtag #DrivingNotDriving.