Stanford to run Audi TT-S up Pikes Peak next year

Posted on 26 October, 2009

If you read AutoblogGreen regularly, then you already know that Volkswagen and Stanford University have taken their relationship that began with developing autonomous vehicles to compete in the government-sponsored DARPA Grand Challenge competitions to the next level. VW has committed over $5 million to open the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab on Stanford’s campus with the intent of taking their research further regardless of whether the government is offering a carrot or not.

The two organizations are kicking off their new commitment to autonomous vehicles in a big way. Already under development is a the third-gen autonomous vehicle will make past DARPA Grand Challenge winners Stanley and Junior look obsolete by comparison. Based on an Audi TT-S, the new vehicle eschews all the outwardly visible hardware and has one expressed purpose: to tackle the Pikes Peak Hill Climb just like a real rally driver, four wheel drifts and all.

While still in the early stages, the team of researchers from Stanford have already performed tests with the autonomous TT-S at the Bonneville Salt Flats where the car was free to roam while being driving at the limit without a driver. They’ve also reportedly visited Pikes Peak with the car and ran it up the hill, albeit slowly.

Follow the jump to check out video of Stanford’s autonomous TT-S being tested, including a nifty little trick where it traces Audi’s corporate logo in the salt. It’s just a teaser for now, but we gotta admit the idea of watching an empty TT-S tackle Pikes Peak is tantamount to finally getting that flying car we were promised.