Automakers and experts do believe that self-driving cars or an autonomous car will be safer than cars driven by humans, but will they be faster and exciting to be in? We will soon see a car racing series where the cars will race without any drivers for autonomous cars. Roborace has already started developing this series but the idea won't really work unless these machines match the level of performance of humans. Do demonstrate autonomous cars current racing ability, Roborace bought in an autonomous car one on one with a pro driver Ryan Tuerck.
Roborace introduced Tuerck with DevBot, its prototype autonomous car. Ryan Tuerck himself races in Formula Drift and first drove the DevBot around the street circuit set up for Formula E. Later, the car set its own lap with any driver or passenger sitting inside. Unlike the Robocar the DevBot has a cabin that can be driven by a human or a computer allowing teams to fully understand how the car thinks and feels on a racetrack alongside the comprehensive real-time data.
The Robocar is designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist who creates vehicles for Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters including Tron Legacy and Oblivion.
DevBot autonomous car developed by Roborace is an all-electric car and weighs about 1000 kilograms with a power output of 550 hp. Being electric all-wheel drive the acceleration is very quick. DevBot is now a finished product and is still under development. Roborace plans to use sleeker bodywork and no seats for a human driver in the actual car. The car uses a number of technologies to ‘drive’ itself including 5 lidars, 2 radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, 2 optical speed sensors, 6 AI cameras, GNSS positioning and is powered by Nvidia’s Drive PX2 brain, capable of up to 24 trillion A.I.operations per second to be programmed by teams’ software engineers using complex algorithms.
The autonomous car was of no match to the human time. After a few less-than-perfect practice laps, Ryan Tuerck set the best time of 1:51.8. On its own, DevBot set a best time of 2:18.4. While Humanity might have won this battle, the races ahead to come will not be this simple. Roborace founder Denis Sverdlov told Tuerck that, while nothing is certain, he believes autonomous cars could best the times of human drivers “within this year.”
Roborace’s open A.I. platform allows companies to develop their own driverless software and push the limits in an extreme and safe environment. The series is designed to be a competition of intelligence so all teams will use the same “Robocar” to ensure all efforts will be focused on advancing the software for everyday road cars to adopt.
The race between two self-driving cars seems interesting but time will tell when the first fully-autonomous race will actually take place and the interests it seems among automakers and viewers. Roborace plans to have robots racing in between the times of a Formula E race to make the race more interesting before its own series. Giving it time to gain popularity on the skill and endorsements of qualified drivers. At the end removing humans from any race might not be that easy.