Watch this special Audi TTS driving itself as if Walter Rohl is behind the wheel. VW hopes its technologies will be used to improve road safety in future.

The Volkswagen Group Automotive Innovation Laboratory (VAIL) is a collaborative effort between the VW Group and Stanford University. Its aim is the advancement of automotive technology.

This Autonomous Audi TTS research vehicle starring in the clip is one result of that cooperation. According to VW, technology used in the car might end up reducing the number of road fatalities worldwide. It will also assist in cutting down traffic congestion on the streets by informing the driver about or even automatically taking less busy alternatives.

One of the advances being made is the development of robust control algorithms that make the TTS drive on its handling limits on different surfaces, without a driver. The unit and its self-driving technology will be put to the ultimate test when it takes on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. Motorsport fans will remember Walter Rohl's famous record-setting win on that gruelling 12.4 mile course back in 1987.

Some of the systems utilised include drive-by-wire steering, throttle, brakes and transmission. To keep it safe a monitoring system can complete a vehicle shutdown if it deems the situation to be unsafe. There's even a telemetry system that can send messages to a station up to 20 miles away which can also shut everything down or bring the car to a safe stop if necessary.

The Autonomous Audi TTS is pretty standard in that it has a 6-speed DSG transmission and 2.0 turbo engine worth 195kW (265hp) and 350Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque. Total vehicle mass including sensors is 1,470kg (3,240 lbs).


Gallery: Driverless Autonomous Audi TTS Research Vehicle [video]