For 25 years, the Goodwood Hill Climb course has been used for the Festival of Speed. Formula cars have driven up its winding curves, as have electric cars, Stock cars, super cars and hyper cars. Cars of all types and from all niches have set a time, but never before has an autonomous car been let loose on the course.
This year, that’s going to change, as Roborace have confirmed that they will be performing a completely autonomous run of the 1.16 mile hill climb.
With electric motors powering the wheels, it uses an orchestra of sensors and cameras to track its surroundings. From this, it can learn how to navigate around them in the fastest way possible. With 500hp, surely it uses some human intervention? Well, no. None at all. Everything comes down to the AI, and therefore, it has no fear.
“The Goodwood hillclimb presents a real challenge for level 4/level 5 autonomous driving systems,” says Sergey Malygin, software chief at ARRIVAL who developed software for the car. “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.”
Roborace boss and Formula E champ Lucas di Grassi said this:
“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.”
It will more than likely be set off with the aim of not driving at 100%, after all, this car doesn’t just cost a few thousand and preservation is the company’s number one aim. But it will surely be making history at the Goodwood Hill Climb.
How well do you think a machine with no fear can drive, though? That’s the question.