Robocar completes first fully autonomous hill climb at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Roborace completed the first official autonomous hill climb at Goodwood by a race car, with Robocar successfully navigating the 1.16-mi (1.8-km) course using artificial intelligence (AI). The run is reportedly the first ever to take place at Goodwood Festival of Speed by a vehicle that has no human driver.
Staged every summer since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, presented by MasterCard, is set against the backdrop of Goodwood House in West Sussex, UK. More than 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the history of motoring and motor sport take part.
Robocar uses a variety of sensors located around the car to give it 360-degree vision of its environment. The information provided by these sensors gives Robocar the ability to localize its position on the hill and detect drivable surfaces and objects using deep neural networks.
“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.”
Roborace also gave the public attending the event a chance to experience the run from the perspective of the Robocar in a fully immersive VR simulator in Goodwood’s Future Lab, in conjunction with HTC VIVE and D-BOX.
"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 1350 kg (2976 lb) and is powered by four 135 kW 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 application programming interface (API) as a platform for teams who then add their AI driver algorithm to the vehicle. Development of the automated driving system for the Robocar at Goodwood was led by automotive technology company, Arrival.