CES has seen some pretty crazy stunts performed for the sake of generating buzz for new products, but Audi might have taken the cake this year by having its autonomous vehicle concept drive itself from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas, which is where CES is being held. An Audi official will be inside the vehicle alongside a journalist, who will switch with another journalist every 100 miles during the 550 mile trip.
Audi loves audacious autonomous-car stunts. It’s sent self-driving prototypes up Pikes Peak and around Germany’s Hockenheimring, and now it’s unleashed one on a road trip from Silicon Valley to CES in Las Vegas. A robotized Audi A7 will make the trip of more than 550 miles, with some human help of course. Journalists will sit behind the wheel for 100-mile stints with an Audi official in the passenger’s seat. The car left Stanford, California, yesterday and will traverse real-world roads and traffic conditions on its way to Vegas. In addition to featuring endpoints tailor made for a PR-friendly tech demo, the trip also takes place in two states that have explicitly legalized the testing of autonomous cars on public roads, eliminating any potential problems with the law. Nicknamed Jack, the “piloted” (Audi’s term) self-driving A7 can do a lot on its own, but still needs human control in certain situations.