Volkswagen has an autonomous performance car prototype running on its test tracks as it evaluates which directions to develop next generation cars in.
The project was revealed by VW Group research and development Ulrich Eichorn on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, when he was pressed on where the firm’s investment into self-driving, electrified vehicles would leave its sporting vehicles and brands.
“We have a Volkswagen Golf with a race trainer function already running on tracks,” said Eichorn. “It can learn a track as it laps, perfect its lines and then, when you are ready, you can take over and it will give instructions, such as telling you to brake later or when to steer.
“The instructions are not so popular with all drivers, but it is still a great way to learn as it can display the lines the car took on the screen for you to follow. It can also work with the ESP on or the ESP off, so it can be quite good fun too.”
While Eichorn conceded that such functions would not appeal to every enthusiast driver, he added that there were other possibilities that would be evaluated even on fully autonomous cars without a steering wheel, including giving autonomous cars drift modes that deliver the sensation of drifting.
Eichorn also stressed that the VW Golf prototype currently has no production plans, and that it was one of several vehicles being used to evaluate potential future technology.