Audi reaches 120mph around a race track – without a driver

A modified Audi TTS, named ‘Shelley’ by students at Stanford University in the USA, has hit 120mph whilst driving autonomously around an American race track.

Using cameras, radars and computer algorithms, the Audi TTS can see the track ahead and calculate the appropriate speeds to take, enabling it to reach 120mph without a driver behind the wheel, but with most of the lap between 50 – 75mph – it’s between these speeds that most road traffic accidents occur.

Mechanical Engineering Professor at the university, Chris Gerdes, along with a team of students, hope to understand the Audi’s computer decisions and performance data to develop and improve automatic collision avoidance software in the future – they closely monitored the car on screens during its lap in order to analyse throttle and brake adjustments, as well as how tyre friction is used. 

Gerdes commented on the achievement, saying: ‘A race car driver can use all of a car’s functionality to drive fast. We want to access that same functionality to make driving safer.’ Whilst most observers would stand in awe of an empty TTS taking on the track, Stanford students watched the lap on screens to perform constant analysis.

Watch Shelley perform her astounding driverless lap for yourself right here