Roborace, a race for fully autonomous cars, is now set to take on world's most popular hill climb event - the Goodwood Festival of speed. No drivers needed for this race - the 'Robocar' will be guided by automated computer systems and sensors. It will be the very first time a self-driving race car be seen speeding up the Goodwood Hill Climb. It was back in January this year when the world’s first driverless race took place at Autosport International 2018. While full autonomy in cars may be a boon when it comes to commuting, it sounds like a bit of a stretch when the driver is pulled out of a race car. But racing may also very well be where the robocars will learn precision from.
The technology firm’s autonomous race car, Robocar, will do its run up the famous 1.85 km hill climb track guided only by automated systems. It will use a variety of sensors, that give a 360-degree vision around the car, to navigate through hay bales, flint walls and forests on the Goodwood estate.
The announcement comes after Robocar took centre stage in the FoS Future Lab at last year’s Festival of Speed, making it the natural challenger to try and become the first autonomous vehicle to complete the iconic run.
Lucas di Grassi, CEO of Roborace, said: “We are excited that the Duke of Richmond has invited us to make history at Goodwood as we attempt the first ever fully - and truly - autonomous uphill climb using only artificial intelligence.”
In addition to the historic run, visitors to the Festival of Speed will also be able to enjoy the hill climb from the Robocar’s point of view in a custom, fully immersive VR experience in the Roborace booth, located inside Future Lab.
The autonomous run presents a milestone for the Goodwood event as the Festival of Speed celebrates its 25th anniversary, having been staged every summer since 1993. The Festival is renowned for attracting the rarest and most exciting road and race cars and bikes ever created.
Robocar's design is the brainchild of Daniel Simon, a prominent designer behind many sci-fi Hollywood cars. It will compete against other identical Robocars in an all-electric racing series set to support next year’s Formula E championship. We want to call the Robocar a fitting vehicle for Robocop, but then the Robocar is a strong and independent race car which doesn't need a hooman or robot to drive it.