Wednesday, 10 July 2019 18:31

Roborace sets autonomous hillclimb benchmark


Autonomous car racing organisation Roborace's DevBot 2.0 has recorded the first officially timed run on the Goodwood hillclimb for self-driving cars.

DevBot 2.0 achieved a time of 66.96 seconds with a top speed of 162kph during last weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

That's nine seconds faster than the unofficial time set by Robocar at last year's event.

"The team are thrilled to have set the first ever official time for an autonomous vehicle at the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb," said Roborace chief strategy officer Bryn Balcombe.

"We've set the benchmark and now we set the challenge to break that record in 2020 as part of Roborace Season Beta. Our achievements with Robocar and DevBot 2.0 demonstrate the value motorsport plays in driving innovation and public engagement.

"We've now opened access to these vehicle platforms for research, software, sensors, compute & simulation innovations that will push these boundaries forward. Come join us on the journey!"

DevBot 2.0 is the hardware being used by all teams in the current RoboRace Season Alpha. The idea is that they compete on the quality of their software, much like the way one of the RoboCup robot soccer leagues standardises on the NAO humanoid robot.

2019 07 Roborace FOS2019 Saturday AM Run DEVBOT 2.0 on Hillclimb in front of crowd

But to put DevBot 20's result in perspective, Volkswagen's electric ID. R set a record of 39.9 seconds for the hillclimb, nearly two seconds faster than the previous record set in a McLaren Formula One car.

Goodwood Festival of Speed general manager Dan Garlick said "We saw the DevBot 2.0 raise the bar for what autonomous vehicles can achieve, which was fitting during a weekend when Volkswagen's all-electric ID.R demolished the 20-year-old record for the outright fastest time on the Hill. Roborace has brought a whole new story to the sport that has really struck a chord with the crowd."

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Stephen Withers

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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