Watching this driverless racecar navigate the Goodwood Hillclimb by itself is unsettling, to say the least.
After announcing it would be attempting an autonomous run, Roborace’s full electric racecar, the Robocar, has become the first ever driverless race car to complete the challenging Goodwood Festival of Speed Hillclimb. Using a variety of sensors, the self-driving racecar successfully navigated the serpentine course without incident, which is an impressive feat considering it had to avoid obstacles such as trees, hay bales and flint walls.
Ironically, it did a better job than the autonomous Mustang that hit some hay bales, despite having a backup driver behind the wheel. Sensors located around the car give it 360-degree vision of its environment, while information gathered from a radar, cameras and GPS system are fed into a high-tech computer with an AI driver algorithm enabling the car to drive itself.
The Robocar weighs just 2,976 pounds, while four 135-kWH electric motors provide a combined output of over 500 hp. “We are ecstatic that the team have been able to achieve this landmark run and we hope that it draws attention to the amazing advances that are being made in the automotive industry,” said Rod Chong, Deputy CEO of Roborace. “Robocar is an ambassador for the future technologies we will see on our roads and we hope that inspirational stunts like this will change public perceptions of autonomous vehicles.” The Duke of Richmond, Charles Gordon-Lennox, Founder of the Festival of Speed applauded the run. “It is an enormous achievement for a race car to complete the very first run of the Hill using only artificial intelligence.”
“Roborace has worked incredibly hard in order to pull this off and we are excited for the public to see them in action over the Festival weekend.” Seeing the Robocar drive itself around the Goodwood Hillclimb with no driver behind the wheel is undeniably impressive, if a tad unsettling to watch. The car looks like something out of a science fiction film, though that probably isn’t a coincidence since the designer, Daniel Simon, also designed cars for Hollywood films such as Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.