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The brakes, steering and gears on Audi's piloted RS 7 are controlled remotely (Photo: Audi)

Audi demonstrated the technical abilities of today's autonomous driving technologies when it raced a "piloted" RS 7 sports car around the Hockenheim Ring race track in Germany this past weekend.

The premium brand, like its German competitors, has been testing driverless cars for the past couple of years on the road to eventual commercialization of the technology.

"We are pressing forward with one of the most important trends in the automotive world with our technical solutions for piloted driving," said Ulrich Hackenberg, head of technical development at Audi.

The piloted race version of the 560 hp RS 7 is largely identical to the production car. It has a top speed of 305 km/h. What's different is that its electromechanical power steering, the brakes, the throttle valve and the eight-speed tiptronic gearbox are controlled automatically.

Audi said the Hockenheim laps allowed it to test the highly precise orientation of the car on the road and the full control it can exercise over the vehicle at top speeds.

To drive the car remotely, Audi used corrected GPS signals for orientation. These are transmitted to the car via wireless LAN. In addition, 3D camera images were compared in real time against graphical information stored on board.