What happens when tuners cast eyes on the Audi R8 is symptomatic of the basic and inherent awesomeness of the R8 proposition, both design- and driving-wise. See, there isn't much that happens on any tuned Audi R8 – all of them look like Audi R8s, maybe with a little more carbon fiber and a new set of wheels. There is simply nothing else to be done to it that could make it better, or, at least, we haven't seen it, and so almost all hyped R8s are known by their rims.
Stasis has joined that club, with an R8 Custom Spyder blessed with up to 7.5 psi of supercharger boost good for 710 horsepower, some suspension mods and a 20-inch set of its trademark wheels. An independent cooler keeps the supercharger chilled, and a lighter, more open exhaust runs out of larger tailpipes. It certainly looks good, and that's mostly because the R8 looks good on its own.
Of all of the high-dollar cars in Audi's first-ever space at SEMA, only the autonomous TTS was behind a barrier and untouchable. Pikes Peak dust still coated its antennas and inertial sensors, and the open hatch revealed just how much computer hardware is necessary to replace a human. Almost. There are details in the press release after the jump, and multiple views of both in the gallery of high-res photos below.
Photos copyright ©2010 Jonathon Ramsey / AOL
- Vehicle serves as "working laboratory" for future driver assistance technologies
- Explores how advancements will help with traffic and safety challenges
- Project honors the spirit of past Audi rally winners
LAS VEGAS, Nev., Nov 2, 2010 - Audi is bringing its Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak technology research project to the SEMA Show this year, scheduled for Nov. 2-5, 2010 in Las Vegas. It is the first time that the vehicle will be displayed in an auto show setting.
Fresh from a test run up Colorado's Pikes Peak, the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak is based on a street-ready Audi TTS sports car, chosen for the project because of its compatibility with a variety of in-vehicle technologies. Those characteristics include a drive- by-wire throttle and semi-automatic gearbox-both good fits for the electronics necessary to allow the car to drive without human input.
The vehicle also includes a pair of trunk-located computers that, while sophisticated, are no more elaborate than a standard lap top. One computer runs safety-critical algorithms using the Oracle Java Real-Time System (Java RTS), and the second computer runs vehicle dynamic algorithms. Together, the systems allow the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak to drive on the very edge of its speed and handling limits on a variety of surfaces, including mountainous conditions.
The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak was developed with the Stanford University Dynamic Design Lab and the Audi Electronic Research Laboratory.
The Stanford team, led by Professor Chris Gerdes, and involving four Ph.D. students, developed the robust control algorithms that enable the vehicle to perform at its physical limits. The Stanford team also studied a variety of techniques that have potential for improving existing driver assistance systems and vehicle safety systems.
The involvement of the Audi Electronic Research Laboratory was led by Marcial Hernandez, who coordinated the efforts of three engineers and four interns.
The Pikes Peak venue recalls Audi racing legends born a generation ago, including the Audi S1 Quattro that employed all-wheel drive technology to win the 12.42-mile "Race to the Clouds." The equally legendary driver, France's Michele Mouton, became the first female champion with wins in 1984 and 1985 (Researchers at the project team nicknamed the current version of the Autonomous TTS Pikes Peak "Shelley" to honor Moulton's racing exploits).
Bringing the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak to the SEMA Show was an easy decision, especially given the emphasis on future development Audi engineers have embraced, said David Tait, Audi of America's lead After Sales executive.
"The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak project is among the most exciting of our ongoing projects, especially since it explores technologies that Audi owners are very likely to benefit from in years to come," said Tait. "Not only does it embrace the entire spirit of the Audi motoring experience, it's a heck of a lot of fun!"
The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak joins a number of other Audi vehicles equipped specifically for SEMA, including:
--The Audi R8 Custom Spyder, a 710-horsepower super car from STa?SIS Engineering. --The Audi A4, A5, and the Q5 and Q7 Custom Concepts with customization by FMS Automotive.
Audi will also feature several other technologies, notably a Wireless Charger (that gives iPod and iPhone owners the ability to keep their devices fully juiced-minus the cords), an iPhone Car Monitor, an iPod Satellite Adapter and Illuminated Floor Mats.
The exhibit will also be equipped with special, Audi concept extreme sports gear, including snowboards and surfboards.
An Audi of America emphasis on After Sales is already generating significant success on top of a record vehicles sales year, with expansion of its portfolio of Genuine Audi Accessories having produced an all-time record sales year in the U.S. for its parts and accessory business.
The Audi of America SEMA exhibit will be located in the Mobile Electronics Area of the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall, Booth 11245. A full complement of Audi of America / After Sales news and information will be distributed during the show, and posted on www.audiusanews.com
Audi of America, Inc. and its 275 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.