How fast can a driverless car go? Very fast indeed, as Audi has shown

DRIVERLESS AUDI FAST AND PRECISE

How fast can a driverless car go? Very fast indeed, as Audi has shown.

The Ingolstadt manufacturer let loose an autonomous RS7 at the Hockenheim circuit recently and found that it was as quick and precise as a racing ace.

Relying on GPS signals transmitted to the vehicle via Wi-Fi and high-frequency radio, the Audi clocked more than 200kmh on the grand prix track.

Its 3-D cameras film the track and a computer programme compares the cameras' information against a data set stored onboard.

The test demonstrates possible automatic avoidance functions at high speeds, where accidents often have dire outcomes.

JAGUAR LAND ROVER'S FIRST IN CHINA

Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover has opened its first plant in China, paving the way for it to cut prices on its Range Rover Evoque and expand its footprint in the world's largest vehicle market.

The 130,000-unit-a-year factory in eastern Changshu city, about 110km north-west of Shanghai, will allow the Tata-owned British group to avoid hefty duties that make imported vehicles less competitive. The group expects local production to cut prices by 15 per cent, which may help it extend a lead over Fiat-Chrysler's Jeep brand and narrow a gap with Volkswagen.

It will be competing in a market where demand for premium sport-utility vehicles is forecast to double to 1.2 million units by 2020, with 18 brands competing for market share.

MAZDA TURBODIESELS SET RECORDS

Mazda has set a new speed record for turbodiesel production cars in the 2- to 2.5-litre segment. At a test circuit in Papenburg, Germany, the carmaker shattered 20 speed records with three Mazda6 models powered by 175bhp SkyActiv-D2.2-litre turbodiesels.

In a 24-hour marathon run on the high-speed track last Sunday, the front car achieved an average speed of 220.5kmh and the other two close behind. The current record for diesel-powered production cars (2- to 2.5-litre displacement) is 209.3kmh.

Each of the three Mazdas also set several other average speed records over a variety of distances.

TOYOTA ISSUES SAFETY ADVISORY

Toyota has advised more than 875,000 American car owners to keep passengers out of front seats until dealers can repair airbags that are the subject of an industrywide investigation. The probe follows reports of metal shrapnel being propelled from the safety devices after a crash.

The unusual public warning is part of a renewed effort by the United States government to reach at least 4.7 million motorists driving with potentially faulty airbags.

Toyota has upped its airbag-related recalls, which began last year and which also affect several other car brands, including Honda, Nissan, BMW, Buick and Chevrolet. Honda has the most US vehicles affected at 2.8 million units.

Bumpy ride for car recalls

BMW ADJUSTS FUEL ECONOMY LABELS

BMW Group will fix fuel economy labels on its Mini Coopers, following United States Environment Protection Agency tests which revealed that they were unrealistic.

The German carmaker will lower fuel economy claims for four 2014 Mini Cooper models, reported Reuters. In each of the models, the combined highway and city driving ratings were 5 to 10 per cent lower than what BMW claimed.

CHECK OUT 3-SERIES 1.6L BEEMER

BMW has re-entered the 1.6-litre segment in Singapore with its 3-series. But like its archrival Mercedes-Benz C-class, the car is not going to compete in the COE Category A class.

The BMW 320i EfficientDynamics is powered by a 1.6-litre fourcylinder turbo engine that produces 170bhp and 250Nm. It can reach 100kmh in 7.6 seconds.

Its EfficientDynamics label is courtesy of an engine tuned for efficiency, better aerodynamics with a chassis lowered by 10mm, reduced rolling resistance and a default economy setting that pares down, among other things, the air-conditioning function. This results in an average fuel consumption of 5.4 litres per 100km, which is achievable only in the European Union test cycle.

DAIMLER EYES MV AGUSTA STAKE

Daimler is in advanced talks to take a 25 per cent stake in Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Agusta, according to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. It will buy the stake via its AMG performance unit for around €30 million (S$48.3 million), with an option to raise its stake in exchange for further investments.