Roborace is the world’s first racing category where drivers are not the champions, engineers are. The competition uses 2 of the same vehicle, but different autonomous programming from teams to control the vehicles.
After being announced a few years ago, the first ever Autonomous Race has been run.
Both teams were allowed a few practice runs to test their AI and ensure things were working as expected. This wasn’t without incident. One of the teams suffered an issue with GPS and was unable to complete the qualifying, so they started from second place.
With that ticked off, it was time to race.
The two teams were battling were Team TUM (Tecnical University of Munich) vs Team Arrival, who took were racing around the impressive Circuito Monteblanco in Spain.
The race went for 8 laps and the first team to cross the line wins. The race can produce overtakes, however these are not done by outbraking your opponent. Should your speed allow you to catch up to the car ahead and be within a specific time delta over an activation zone, the two vehicles will communicate and allow the pass to occur safely down the straight.
The cars see the green light and floor it, both taking fairly different lines through the corner. This is important as it shows the brains of the cars trajectory and path planning responding to the live environment, rather than simply following the optimal path as shown in many racing games.
Multiple cameras mounted on and in the car, combined with the telemetry being fed back to the pits, enable teams to monitor their progress.
I won’t spoil the result, but you can watch the video of the first ever Autonomous race below.
Congrats to all and the first season of RoboRace (Season Alpha) is certainly something I’d love to see get mainstream coverage of.
Far too often we hear about F1 teams being more than the driver, that it takes hundreds of people behind the scenes to acheive excellence in the sport, but we never hear more about those people. RobotRace is a platform that enables all the hard working people to be the rock stars and I love that.