One day, we may be watching robotic cars race against each other at incredible speeds, devoid of drivers. Instead of the skill of the human taking center stage, it’ll be the smarts of the AI embedded in each.
We’ve taken a step closer to that moment, as one of the early prototypes of that robotics race car series – dubbed Roborace – navigated its way around the challenging, iconic and complex Goodwood hill climb circuit in the UK.
The car, laden with a variety of sensors including LiDar, radar, GPS, ultrasonic and 360 cameras, powered its way around the 1.16 mile course at an impressive speed for something without human input or a safety car to follow – you can see and spin around the raw 360 footage here:
The feat was achieved largely without the use of GPS, as the tree-lined nature of the circuit made it hard to lock onto the sensor at high speed, meaning the Lidar and ultrasonic elements had to come into stronger play.
Of course this is only the opening salvo in the war of the (racing) machines, as there are still a number of teething problems to overcome – the speeds here are still down on what you might expect from a robotic car, and at a recent event in Rome TechRadar witnessed the prototype being halted on a test run without explanation.
If the series is to take off, it’ll need buy in from a number of teams and engineers, as the ‘host’ cars will be expensive already, and then costly development will be needed to create bespoke AI that creates the very best driving machine, something that can out maneuver the car around a variety of tracks and past other competitors.
There’s also still no date for the launch of the series itself – although one of the 10 teams will be a crowd-sourced set up, with engineers from around the world brought together to create their own AI.
Still, seeing the car speed around the Goodwood track is a big step forward, and puts Roborace into the same breath as esteemed car marques like Mercedes and Ferrari for completing the course – so this could be the start of the future of racing.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #techradar http://www.techradar.com/news/watch-this-robotic-driverless-car-take-on-a-challenging-racetrack