Audi Named 'Jack' Drives Itself 550 Miles

Audi A7 drove from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2015 11:19 AM CST

It feels like something out of a sci-fi movie—a luxury car that can drive itself 550 miles, from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. But this is not a movie: Over two days, an Audi A7 Sportback (nicknamed "Jack") made the trip with little human help, its journey aided by GPS and radar sensors that feed data to an onboard computer. This system ensures the car changes lanes, overtakes vehicles, and accelerates, steers, and brakes safely, CNET explains. The car isn't completely independent, though—the autopilot only works up to 70mph and doesn't function in urban areas, reports Popular Mechanics. When a human needs to take the wheel, the car lets off a warning; if there's no response, it pulls over to the shoulder and comes to a stop with flashers on. Jack's journey was completed last night, according to Business Insider.

However, there's bound to be debate about this "Piloted Driving" technology breeding even more inattentive drivers, notes CNBC, and state regulators need to get on board before such cars become mainstream. But industry insiders say the public is ready. "Why not? If it can make driving on the highway safer and pay attention if you're not, a lot of people will find that appealing," one tells CNBC. And that's the point—to "make driving safer," an Audi engineer says. The A7's solo trip is part of the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show. You can see its journey on Twitter @Audi and the hashtag #DrivingNotDriving. (Read more technology stories.)

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