Last weekend, Roborace’s Robocar became the first ever fully driverless race car to successfully complete the famous Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England.
The electric car navigated the famous 1.16 mile course at the Goodwood estate using artificial intelligence.
The run was the first in the history of Goodwood to be completed by a racing car with no human driver in the car – a milestone moment for the Festival, which this year celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The car wowed the crowds as it took to the Hillclimb, using a variety of sensors located around the vehicle to give it a 360-degree vision of its environment. The information provided by these sensors gives Robocar the ability to specify its position on the hill and detect drivable surfaces and objects using deep neural networks.
The car’s speed was limited to 120kph to allow visitors to get a good look at the vehicle on its way up the hill.
“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.”
“It is an enormous achievement for a race car to complete the very first run of the hill using only artificial intelligence,” said Charles Gordon-Lennox, the Duke of Richmond and founder of the Festival of Speed.
“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.”
Robocar was designed by Daniel Simon, the ‘automotive futurist’ known for his work in Hollywood films such as Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.
The vehicle weighs 1,350 kg and is powered by four 135kW electric motors used to drive each wheel, for a combined 500-plus hp. An NVIDIA DRIVE PX2 computer processes Robocar’s data, which includes inputs from the LiDar, radar, GPS, ultrasonic, and camera sensors.
Roborace provides the car with an API as a platform for teams who then add their AI driver algorithm to the vehicle.