The A7 ‘concept’ - called “Jack” by its development team - will have a group of motoring journalists and one Audi technician for company but should otherwise complete the journey unaided.
Audi says the journalists have been trained to cope with foreseeable disasters, and that its own technician is on hand to assist.
The trip began in Silicon Valley, California, and by the time the A7 reaches Las Vegas, Nevada, it will have covered around 900km.
Audi says the A7 will demonstrate “production-ready sensor technologies”, and that “the era of automated driving is nearly here”.
What those comments mean for pending Audi models is unclear, but the German carmaker believes it has taken a “leadership role” in the field of self-driven cars.
Jack can drive himself at speeds from rest to 110km/h, performing lane changes and overtaking manoeuvres in traffic along with basic steering and braking functions.
A series of radar sensors keep Jack on the appropriate course, including those already used for adaptive cruise control and Audi’s side-assist, while laser sensors are mounted within the A7’s grille and rear bumper.
A 3D camera is also fitted to absorb information from out front, along with four smaller cameras looking in other directions.
If Jack thinks he’s getting in over his autonomous head (such as a complicated inner-city environment), the feeble human ‘driver’ will be asked to take over for a while.
Should the human driver refuse Jack’s request for help (perhaps while asleep), he will activate his hazard lights and bring himself calmly to a halt in the emergency stopping lane; if possible.
Besides Jack, Audi has promised additional goodies for cars of the future will also be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.
MORE: Audi RS7 Laps Hockenheimring At Race Pace, Without A Driver - Video
MORE News & Reviews: Audi | Autonomous | CES