As a showcase of all the latest automotive technology, Goodwood Festival of Speed is a big date in our calendar – and this year, it’s 25th no less – will see yet another unique moment: the first ever autonomous hillclimb.
Roborace, the world’s first autonomous race car, will take on the famous 1.16-mile track guided only by automated computer systems and sensors.
This is no milk float – the car weighs 1,350 kg and is powered by four 135kW electric motors used to power each wheel, for a combined 500+ hp. An Nvidia Drive PX 2 computer processes Robocar’s data, which includes inputs from the LiDAR, radar, GPS, ultrasonic, and camera sensors.
The Robocar took centre stage in the FOS Future Lab at last year’s Festival of Speed, where we met with Siemens and Topcon to learn about how they had used the latest 3D scanning technologies to map out the entire course in little over two and a half hours.
“The Goodwood hillclimb presents a real challenge for level 4/level 5 autonomous driving systems.” said Sergey Malygin, chief of software and AI at Arrival. “It is a narrow track with complex geometry.
“Turns and hills with a great deal of tree coverage mean you can’t rely on GPS / RTK signal for localisation. Use of all advanced sensors, including LiDARs and cameras with deep learning based computer vision methods are needed to perform well at this course.”
In addition to the historic run, visitors to the Festival of Speed will also be able to enjoy the hillclimb from the Robocar’s point of view in a custom, fully immersive VR experience in the Roborace booth, located inside the 2018 Future Lab.
Robocar, the world’s first autonomous race car, was styled by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist and occasional D3D LIVE speaker, known for his work in Hollywood films such as Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.