New Audi flagship saloon has been delayed for a year as the company bids to equip it with autonomous technology.
Audi’s first car capable of autonomous operation will be the next-generation Audi A8, which is not due before late 2017.
Insiders say the company has been stretched to the limit designing the new electronic architecture that will support “piloted driving”.
This is one of the reasons why the model has been delayed.
Audi R&D boss Urlich Hackenberg also said the central processing unit for autonomous operation would be very expensive at low volumes, but he expected mass production would lower the price enough for it to be fitted to the next-generation MQB platform.
On the issue of motor sport, Audi’s board members said they would “not comment on rumours” that the brand would eventually enter Formula 1, while Hackenberg said Audi was following Formula E "with great interest”.
“At the moment, the type of components used for the cars is quite restricted, but we think that will change," he said. "So when the [Formula E] technology becomes more liberated, we will definitely look [at the series] in more detail.”