You can tune in to the live feed October 19th at 6:50 a.m. EDT at the official Audi live stream site.
The stunt is intended to show off the company’s upcoming Piloted Driving autonomous systems to full effect, showing that not only is the computer capable of negotiating the track without incident, but that it can do so “approximately as fast as with a professional race car driver at the wheel.”
In testing, the car has demonstrated the ability to lap the Grand Prix circuit in just over two minutes, according to Audi, while reaching a top speed of 149 mph.
It should be a brilliant show for race fans on-site, and will no doubt produce a very interesting video for those of us on the web—whether it goes well or poorly.
The idea of a driverless race car also raises the idea of a new kind of racing in the future: one where brands and teams compete to deliver the best possible race car, refine their autonomous racing algorithms, and secure victory through technological prowess.
Such a series would eliminate the safety of the driver from the equation as well as the driver’s skill and bravado. But it could enable some novel types of car, track, and race format. It could even offer a fully-robotic race, complete with automated pit stops and more.
The drama might be different, but with the vagaries of weather, the potential for increased speeds without regard for in-car crash safety, and other possible innovations, it might still be a spectacle well worth watching.