• Oct 26, 2009
Stanford's autonomously drifting Audi TTS -- Click above to view video after the jump

If you read AutoblogGreen regularly, then you already know that Volkswagen and Stanford University have taken their relationship that began with developing autonomous vehicles to compete in the government-sponsored DARPA Grand Challenge competitions to the next level. VW has committed over $5 million to open the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab on Stanford's campus with the intent of taking their research further regardless of whether the government is offering a carrot or not.

The two organizations are kicking off their new commitment to autonomous vehicles in a big way. Already under development is a the third-gen autonomous vehicle will make past DARPA Grand Challenge winners Stanley and Junior look obsolete by comparison. Based on an Audi TT-S, the new vehicle eschews all the outwardly visible hardware and has one expressed purpose: to tackle the Pikes Peak Hill Climb just like a real rally driver, four wheel drifts and all.

While still in the early stages, the team of researchers from Stanford have already performed tests with the autonomous TT-S at the Bonneville Salt Flats where the car was free to roam while being driving at the limit without a driver. They've also reportedly visited Pikes Peak with the car and ran it up the hill, albeit slowly.

Follow the jump to check out video of Stanford's autonomous TT-S being tested, including a nifty little trick where it traces Audi's corporate logo in the salt. It's just a teaser for now, but we gotta admit the idea of watching an empty TT-S tackle Pikes Peak is tantamount to finally getting that flying car we were promised. Thanks for the tip, Marcial



[Source: YouTube | Photos by jurvetson | CC2.0]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was really excited about this until I read "driverless"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering how many people are distracted by cellphones, computers, books, doing their makeup, brushing their hair/teeth, and totally preoccupied by everything other than driving, this may be the route the majority of road users will take in the future.

      I would suggest that the technology be developed for a streamlined and automated public transportation system that will free up the roads for people who actually want to drive their vehicles.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes. Hell yes. This will be spectacular in one of two ways - the machine will work on race day and make it to the top of the mountain without ever being under control of a driver other than the computer, or it will fail and we will watch an Audi TT fly off the side of Pikes Peak in a splash of dust and grit. Either way I can't wait to see what happens
      • 5 Years Ago
      Boooh, what a waste of time! I was expecting soem footage of their early attempts on a hill-climb, but all we get is 4-5 still images.
      • 5 Years Ago
      During the scene where the car is coming head on in the desert, I envisioned KITT's red LED with the Knight Rider theme song in the background. Awesome. Go Cardinal!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Axion Racing drove autonomously up to the top of Pikes Peak in 2006 using a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It could still do it agian if asked and might beat the Audi. There's a youtube video with the "Axion Racing Twins" that shows the Jeep in 2004, before she drove up to the top of Colorado Spring's hightest peak.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So we've got cars that can park themselves, maintain their own lane, follow at a safe distance, and even come to a stop themselves in an emergency. We have GPS that is accurate enough to trust for directions. I really don't think it's that ridiculous to think that in a couple generations, one of these flagship sedans will have an autopilot feature. Why not Audi? You'll have to pry the steering wheel out of my cold, dead hands if you want me to give up driving, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who would like it. It's also a better party trick than auto-park. Nobody will unveil it until they're sure only a few people will die though. Otherwise the lawsuits would bankrupt 'em before you can reach for your wallet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually, this IS pretty cool now that I took the time to read it and watch the video. I totally approve of the Audi corporate sponsorship for this too. Very cool and innovative.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The real question is: How long until our future robot overlords are beating our best driver's best times on tracks?

      I welcome an autonomous commute, but it will be a sad day when robo-racecar defeats human a champion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For pure transportation purposes, yes.

        For entertainment, no.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice vid, but someone should have done grammar-check.

      "the research continuous."
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah - there was one other error in the copy at the end - but I don't feel like going back and checking it. It baffles me how many people won't allow someone else to look at their advertisements and works before putting it in the public domain.
      • 5 Years Ago
      O love DARPA challenges...will no competitor pick up the glove?
        • 5 Years Ago
        O=I....we need an edit button..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Play this while the car's goin up hill:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJDLRCXR2ZM
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