Volkswagen Developed an Autonomous Golf to Help Racecar Drivers
【Summary】VW recently announced that it developed a prototype of a driverless performance car, which will help racers learn the layout of a track.
The majority of automakers see autonomous cars as a way of helping drivers gain back some of the time they lose sitting in traffic, which essentially sees the majority of drivers creep forward at low speeds and then coming to a halt. The same process is then repeated for a few hours, until traffic miraculously clears or the required exit is reached.
While driverless cars will be able to take the hassle out of driving in traffic, there's a flip side to the technology that performance automakers will surely explore. Volkswagen, as Autocar reports, is one of the first automotive company's to explore the more enjoyable side of self-driving technology.
An Enjoyable Future With Autonomous Cars
According to the British outlet, Research and Development Chief at VW, Ulrich Eichorn, confirmed that the automaker had a performance-oriented self-driving vehicle that can drive on a track without any help from an operator before the Frankfurt Auto Show. Autocar claims that Eichorn confirmed the information when pressed on whether the automaker's move to electric vehicles and driverless technology would see it leave sporty vehicles behind.
"We have a Golf with a race trainer function already running on tracks," said Eichorn. "It can learn a track as it laps, perfect its lines and then, when you are ready, you can take over and it will give instructions, such as telling you to brake later or when to steer."
Some enthusiasts see autonomous vehicles as the end of sporty cars, as the technology literally takes control away from drivers. But for those that want to learn how to drive quickly around a track and want to improve their driving skills, VW's prototype sounds like the real deal.
Taking Control In The Name Of Fun
"The instructions are not so popular with all drivers, but it is still a great way to learn as it can display the lines the car took on the screen for you to follow," said Eichorn. "It can also work with the ESP on or the ESP off, so it can be quite good fun too."
These functions, as Eichorn points out, won't be enjoyable for every driver, but self-driving technology can teach drivers how to get around a track and, for those that enjoy spending a lot of time at the track, help them get around quicker, as well. The possibilities don't end there, though, as Eichorn also sees the possibility of autonomous vehicles with "drift mode," giving passengers a hands-on experience of what it's like to go sideways in a car without having to do anything.
While VW doesn't have any plans to put the prototype Golf into production, it previews an avenue that high-performance manufacturers can take with self-driving cars. Autonomous vehicles may be an unavoidable aspect of the future, but automakers like VW will find a way to appeal to enthusiasts that enjoy driving, even if it means that they have to tack it to the track.
Vineeth Joel Patel
Joel Patel has been covering all aspects of the automotive industry for four years as an editor and freelance writer for various websites. When it comes to cars, he enjoys covering the merger between technology and cars. In his spare time, Joel likes to watch baseball, work on his car, and try new foods
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