Driver-free since 2015: Audi A7 Sportback to navigate 550-mile journey

Audi A7 Sportback
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It looks like Audi is on track to deliver on its promise of driverless cars by 2016, with one of its concept cars set to drive from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas with a minimum of old fashioned human help.

Audi will be hoping for a hiccup-free journey as the A7 Sportback piloted driving concept car makes its way to CES 2015, navigating over 550 miles (approximately 900km) of real world traffic and road conditions.

With the exception of urban areas, driver interference will be unnecessary provided the speed of the A7 – which accelerates and brakes independently – doesn't exceed 70 mph (113 km/h).

Jack of all trades

Audi claims the car (nicknamed "Jack") can also change lanes and overtake other vehicles – something many people can't do safely, though they're unlikely to admit it.

The car maintains a 360-degree view of its surroundings via a range of long and mid-range radar sensors, which Audi claims are nearly production ready.

As the car enters more complex environments (like cities) it will signal for its human occupant to take over, but should these signals be ignored the car will activate its hazard lights and come to a full stop.