Monday, 20 February 2017 10:09

Roborace puts two driverless cars on the track

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Two autonomous racing cars have successfully driven round a competition track together.

Roborace plans to pit 10 teams of two driverless cars against each other.

The competition, to run alongside the Formula E series for electric racing cars, will see each team use the same hardware, competing on the quality of their software.

A milestone was achieved last weekend with the world's first live demonstration of two driverless cars interacting with each other on the track at the same time.

Roborace's development cars DevBot 1 and 2 were let loose on the street track in Buenos Aires that hosted the third Formula E race of the season.

To mark the occasion, the DevBots were painted in the colours of Argentinian soccer teams River Plate and Boca Juniors.

DevBots close up BA

The cars used multiple sensors to navigate the circuit and communicated with one another to avoid any contact.

Roborace cars use Nvidia's Drive PX2 system that was designed specifically for autonomous vehicles.

Roborace design

The design concept for the Roborace cars, shown in Nvidia livery.

"This is an historic moment for Roborace and for the future of autonomous vehicle development. Seeing these two cars interacting at speed on a race track shows how fast the technology is progressing and how important a platform Roborace is for further development," said Roborace chief executive Denis Sverdlov.

"It is so exciting to see these vehicles functioning without any human intervention, making their own decisions and taking appropriate actions in order to guide themselves around the track."

Roborace chief technology officer Bryn Balcombe said, "The basis of competition is interaction. The ability of the AI software to perceive and interact within a dynamic environment is critical to Roborace. Today we demonstrated a major milestone in this direction with full awareness between two vehicles combining world sensing, compute and communication technologies."

Virgin Racing Engineering chief executive Alex Tai said, "It is amazing how far Roborace has come since first showing the Devbot less than six months ago and we can't wait to see the Robocar in cities soon. Many people are working on autonomous vehicle technology, but none have achieved the milestone of putting two cars on a race track together.

"The development of driverless technology is a long road and it is great to see platforms like Roborace pushing the boundaries and giving other progressive companies the opportunity to get involved."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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