Autocrossers beware! You may remember the Volkswagen GTI 53+1 we told you about a year ago. VW engineers have outfitted this Golf with an array of computers and sensors that give the car the ability to traverse autocross courses better than most human drivers could. While the 53+1 isn't as autonomous as a Darpa Urban Challenge entrant, this video shows just exactly how far it can go without your input.
Just like flesh and blood amateur racers, the GTI 53+1 needs to slowly "walk" the course, downloading GPS points to a computer in the trunk. It then takes a few moments to analyze the course route and devise the fastest line possible. Back between the cones, the car zips through the tight curves with amazing dexterity.
The video says the car was not developed to promote future autonomous VWs (Stanford's got that covered), but instead as a way to test the company's hardware without a human driver. Eliminating a driver insures every test will be performed exactly as the one before and give consistent results each time.
The Daily Mail covered the story in 2006 and spoke to a VW engineer who said, "We called it '53' because it is reminiscent of the cinematic Volkswagen bug Herbie, which made history as the first self-driving Volkswagen. This time we've done it for real." Here's hoping this doesn't encourage another Love Bug sequel.
So, wanna see it? Follow the jump for the vid!
[Sources: Street Fire Video, Daily Mail]