Why is there a group of people surrounding an Audi A7 3.0 TFSI quattro on a red-carpeted patch in a Las Vegas parking lot?
Because that car—a concept actually—essentially drove itself—it was “piloted,” meaning that there was someone behind the week, and it met the California state law by having an experienced test driver in the passenger seat, presumably ready to jump to it if needs arose—from Silicon Valley to Vegas. That’s 560 miles.
And those are members of the team (including management) who made it happen.
It drove in city conditions. It drove on highways.
And the sensor array did most of the perceptual work and the on-board electronics and controllers did the rest.
The vehicle uses both production-ready and in-use sensors. Audi reckons that it is important to have technology that is affordable for consumer cars, not just for engineering projects.
There are adaptive cruise control and side-assist long-range radar sensors. Mid-range radar sensors positioned at the front and back of the vehicle, directed to the left and right in order to achieve a 360-degree view. There are laser scanners in the front grille as well as in the rear bumper. There are four cameras at the front and rear of the vehicle. And there is a high-resolution, wide-angle 3D video camera (which, incidentally, is being used in the new Audi Q7).
The reason for the multiplicity of sensors is because by getting redundant readings of the environment, better decisions can be made, which is a good thing when a vehicle is traveling at 70 mph or is in a massive downtown Vegas traffic jam.