Sam Philip27 October 2009

Self-driving Audi to tackle Pikes Peak?

Stanford University reckons its TT-S is ready to take on the scariest hillclimb in the world…

Self-driving Audi to tackle Pikes Peak?

Over the last couple of years, Stanford University has been one of the most successful teams in the US military's 'DARPA' challenge, a competition to create the world's first true self-driving car.

Their latest weapon is an Audi TT-S called ‘Shelley', which already holds the unofficial world record for the fastest autonomous car at 130mph. But here's the big news: Stanford has announced that Shelley is set to tackle the Pikes Peak hillclimb next year.

All on her own.

Yes, that's a self-driving car, racing up the terrifying 12.4-mile Colorado hillclimb with its sheer, thousand-foot drops and 156 turns. That's like... the future!

Stanford has already tested Shelley in the less hazardous surroundings of the Bonneville Salt Flats, and recently took the TT-S on a gentle ‘sighter run' up Pikes Peak.

But next year, they say, Shelley will be taking on the hill at full race pace. We'll keep a close eye on the Stanford team and let you know how they're getting on.

If you're wondering why she's called Shelley, by the way, it's in honour of Michele Mouton, the most successful female rally driver in history and the first woman to win Pikes Peak - and she did it all in an Audi Quattro...

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