Billed as an all-electric supercar, the 2016 Audi R8 e-tron already has a lot going for it in terms of cutting edge technology. Packing 459 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque, the R8 e-tron can silently scoot from 0 to 60 MPH in a scant 3.9 seconds, and now it can do so without any input from the driver.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Shanghai, a self-driving 2016 Audi R8 e-tron broke cover, bringing together the automaker’s electrification and autonomous car efforts in a single vehicle. While otherwise identical to the R8 e-tron revealed at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year, adding the self-driving features really brings Audi up to par with companies like Tesla and Mercedes, which have already put plug-in and self-driving tech together.
Not that this is Audi’s first autonomous car. In January an autonomous Audi drove itself from California to the CES show in Las Vegas, and the German automaker has already shown that its autonomous tech can handle the rigors of the race track too. Piloting a nearly 500 horsepower electric supercar should be no problem for Audi’s autonomous hardware, which includes a new type of laser scanner, several video cameras, and ultrasonic sensors and radar sensors at the front and rear. Based on signals from these sources, the central driver assistance control unit computes a comprehensive picture of the surrounding environment. With an estimated driving range of about 280 miles per charge, that’s a lot of hands-off driving.
Tesla is planning to launch its own semi-autonomous driving features this summer in the Model S and Model X, Google has already launched a test fleet of low-speed autonomous EVs near its headquarters, and the Mercedes-Benz S500 Hybrid can all but drive itself already. In other words, the Audi R8 e-tron is just the latest in a growing pantheon of plug-in autonomous car.
I’ll take one of each, please.