Self-driving tech fitted to ’65 Mustang gives us mixed feelings
A classic Mustang is definitely something you would expect to see at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Each year a handful of iconic classics mingle with the latest concepts, race cars, and hypercars at this ever-expanding event. While many of these high-tech machines may also have a level of autonomous driving ability, what you might not expect to see is a fully self-driving 1965 pony car. The silver Mustang you see here will be driving the famous hillclimb twice each day without any human intervention at all. This is a first in the event's 25-year long history.
The modified Mustang is the product of a collaboration between Siemens and the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre at Cranfield University in the UK. The car has been fitted with sensors that allow it to navigate the 1.16-mile long route, while Bentley Systems provides the 3D location scanning technology that maps the track in relation to the car's position. The control algorithms then work out the optimum speed and direction it needs to travel. All rather complex stuff and undoubtedly a sign of things to come as we head haltingly towards mainstream autonomy.
The decision to use a car that is more readily associated with the pleasure of driving to promote this technology may seem strange, but somehow it seems more accessible and 'real' than if the tech were fitted to a futuristic concept car. In fact, just such a futuristic-looking concept car will also be navigating up the hill to promote the autonomous Roborace series. You can decide for yourself which you prefer as additional cameras mounted in the Mustang will be streaming each run online until the end of the event.