• Sep 17th 2010 at 12:31PM
  • 18

Audi Autonomous TTS Pikes Peak – Click above for high-res image gallery

A helicopter carrying four crew members filming a commercial for Volkswagen/Audi has crashed near the summit of the famed Pikes Peak Highway just west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County. The pilot is reportedly in critical condition, and three passengers are listed as stable.

Due to the location of the crash, a medical helicopter is unable to reach the victims, so crews are attempting to transfer the injured to nearby Crystal Creek Reservoir, which is the closest the medics were able to get. Hazmat crews have reportedly been dispatched to clean up a 150-gallon fuel spill from the crash.

According to KKTV in Southern Colorado, the crew was filming Audi's driverless car as it navigated to the summit of Pikes Peak. Click past the break for a couple videos of Shelley, Audi's autonomous TTS, in action. Thanks for the tip, Mason!

*Update: Audi's official statement on the incident is pasted after the break.

[Source: KKTV Colorado | Photos by jurvetson | CC2.0]

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Audi Releases Statement on Helicopter Incident on Pikes Peak

HERNDON, Va., Sep 17, 2010 - Audi is saddened by the helicopter incident that took place this morning near the summit of Pikes Peak. Today's film crew was shooting a test run of the "Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak," a joint program involving Audi, the Electronic Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, and Stanford University. The goal of the project involves ascending Pikes Peak autonomously without a driver behind the wheel to demonstrate the capabilities of advanced driver assistance systems and GPS. The car was not involved in the incident.

Further information on the helicopter incident will be released by the National Transportation Safety Board and local law enforcement officials. All research activities on Pikes Peak have been suspended. The research project will continue at a later date.

Audi of America, Inc. and its 272 U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2009 Audi outsold all other luxury brands in Europe, while in the U.S. market Audi posted the largest market share gain of any luxury automotive brand. Over the next few years, AUDI AG expects to spend nearly $2 billion annually on new products and technology. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe the people over in marketing left a magnet on the bottom of the car and it attracted the helicopter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hopefully all involved parties are ok.

      That said, the paintjob on that TT is rad! Love the way they made vintage Audi color-scheme into a more modern style!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hoping that all involved make it through okay.

      Hopefully Nobuhiro Tajima is piloting the ambulance down the mountain.

      • 5 Years Ago
      That's bad, I hope they all survive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OMG, I hope they get better. Stay safe people!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hope the accident victims are fine and recovering well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Due to the location, a helicopter can't reach them? They crashed right next to the road. Not sure why a pilot couldn't land a heli there.

        • 5 Years Ago
        The wreck isn't on a rugged mountainside but right next to the road. There is a photo on Jalopnik. I guess it might be altitude, but you would think a rescue team in CO would be outfitted with altitude capable equipment.


        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, looked at the photo afterwards, I had it reversed. Happened on the PP Hwy but near where the Cog railways passes. Local news said the Cog Railway service was interrupted as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Most helicopters aren't rated to fly that high. I suspect that's the issue. If they are that close to the summit, then they are at 13k+ft.

        Yes, they were using a helicopter already, but perhaps it was rated for higher altitude and/or carrying less weight?

        I think I recall other times this has been an issue with high moutain rescues including previous ones on Pikes Peak(I live in the area). The thinner air makes it a lot tougher for the blades to provide enough lift and it becomes quite dangerous fairly quickly, especially when you try to land in a tough area, pick up a lot of extra weight and then take off again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish Audi wasn't using this incident to advertise the Autonomous Audi and themselves. Hope everybody inthis crash pulls through
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