Human Driver Races Audi RS 7 Autonomous Car: Who Will Win?

The race was decided by two-tenths of a second. Find out who came out on top.

Photo Caption: The Audi RS 7

Audi is quite confident in its autonomous driving technology. So much so that it’s put its RS 7 concept car to the test against human drivers on racetracks in Europe.

The latest test came against Fifth Gear’s Jonny Smith at the Ascari racetrack in Spain. The track features some challenging corners, and the weather didn’t exactly cooperate for the race.

The challenge was to see who could complete one lap around the 2.5-mile racetrack faster, Smith or the autonomous RS 7 (watch the video below - race starts 2:50 into the video).

Now the RS 7 was pre-programmed with details of the track, giving it a huge advantage over Smith who only had a test drive in the autonomous car and two laps of his own driving to learn the course. Smith also is not a racecar driver and had never been to Ascari.

The RS 7 features:

  • 3D cameras to compare the view from the car with a database of known reference points
  • Ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby objects
  • Radar and laser scanning systems that look for trouble up to 250 meters ahead
  • A GPS system that knows the cars location within 1 centimeter

The “brain” of the RS 7 is stored in its trunk and helps the car adapt to the current driving conditions by calculating all the captured information.


Audi RS 7 technology

Smith drove an RS 7 that featured the same power and performance - 62 MPH in 3.9 seconds and up to 155 MPH - except for all the self-driving features.

So who will win? Watch the race below. You might be surprised how close the race was.

You might remember reading about Audi’s self-driving A7 named Jack that safely completed a two-day, 550-mile trip to Las Vegas in time for the kickoff of 2015 CES. This stunt was quite a gamble for Audi. At CES 2014, Jack failed while driving along an open stretch of freeway, requiring a human driver take the wheel.

As Smith points out at the end of the video, Audi believes within two years it can have a fully autonomous car on the roads that can drive up to 37 MPH.


Audi RS 7 brain


Ascari racetrack in Spain.




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




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