Audi's no stranger to the Consumer Electronics Show, and with the crossover between cars and cutting-edge electronics becoming greater and greater with each passing year, the German automaker's presence at the show has grown ever larger.
So much so that Audi debuts a good chunk of its upcoming technological goodies at CES rather than traditional auto shows.
For example, in January last year it revealed the TT's interior at CES Las Vegas, two months before the actual car debuted at Geneva. CES has also been the platform of choice for Audi to spruik its autonomous driving tech.
Not to rest on its laurels, Audi has used this week's CES Asia show in Shanghai to whip the covers off a fully-autonomous concept version of the R8 e-tron all-electric supercar.
Press the "Pilot" button on the steering wheel, and the R8 e-tron 'piloted driving concept's' 360-degree array of cameras, laser rangefinders and radar sensors take over, mapping the street ahead, monitoring traffic and automatically driving you to your destination.
The R8 e-tron piloted driving concept also retains the regular R8 e-tron's 340kW/920Nm electric motor and can sprint from zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. Maximum range is 450km on a single charge.
But look beyond the 'concept' label and the R8 e-tron piloted driving concept is a sign of what's coming from the four-ringed brand.
Speaking to shareholders at Audi's AGM this week, Chairman Rupert Stadler said that autonomous vehicles are firmly part of the automaker's future product plan:
“We have clearly underscored our technological leadership in the premium segment. Piloted driving by Audi will ensure more safety, more comfort and more efficiency," he said.
"Piloted driving means: fewer accidents, less time wasted in stop-and-go traffic because you can take care of other tasks, and lower emissions because the computer drives in an extremely anticipatory manner."
Stadler also confirmed that the first Audi to enter production as an autonomous vehicle will be the next-generation A8 limousine, due to make its debut in 2017.
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