The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the most popular events for petrolheads. It’s one of the few events where classic cars and modern race machines share the same dais – and to witness these fantastic automotive specimens in action is the proverbial cherry on top. The 2018 edition of the Festival also marks the 25th anniversary of the hill climb event; and at this milestone is one participant car which is sure to grab a lot of attention, as it will be driven without a driver! The Robocar is the first autonomous vehicle to participate in the 1.86km hill climb event.
The Robocar is the first autonomous race car in the world. It weighs-in at 1,350kg and is powered by four 135kW electric motors. The race car uses 360-degree sensors and artificial intelligence for autonomous driving. It employs the Nvidia Drive PX2 to process data from its LiDAR, radar, GPS, and ultrasonic systems. The automated driving system for the 2018 Goodwood hill climb has been developed by Arrival, a UK-based automotive technology company.
The existing hill climb record belongs to Nick Heidfeld aboard a McLaren MP4/13 F1 car set in 1999 at 41.60sec. While the Robocar will be nowhere close to Heidfeld's record timing, it will be an interesting prospect to see this autonomous car race on the narrow road.
Autonomous cars are a boon in real world conditions for commuting. However, as a traditional motorsport fan, it’s more intriguing to see a racer wrestle with the machine rather than sensors guiding it past the chequered flag. What do you guys think?