Roborace an electric driverless car racing series which is currently still in development, have had their first “real” “race”, driving two so-called DevBots on the same street circuit at the Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix.
The company says two cars made their way around the track at a “cautious yet respectable pace”, with the “winner” reaching a top speed of 115 mph. Unfortunately, the organisers say, the losing car didn’t fare so well, getting itself into an accident and taking itself out of the race.
The championship presented the event as the first “race between driverless cars”, but Roborace say the event was still very much a test exercise and the DevBot development cars “don’t represent the final form these driverless racecars will take”.
The cars still have a cabin for a driver but neither car’s cabin was occupied during the event, and while the cars have been tested on street circuits before, this was the first time two cars were on track at the same time, making it the first “race” on an actual racing circuit.
Roborace is still in development as a series, but the company’s goal is to have several teams racing against each other, each with the same car design, but writing their own software. Details are still a little light, but it is presumed the teams will have no more input into the car’s decisions during the race as they would for a real driver (being able to tell the cars to push harder, slow down, and make pit stops, perhaps). Otherwise, the software will do all the driving on its own.
Roborace say the concept has created a little controversy among race fans – some are excited to see what happens with the new technology (especially since now crashes will be even more exciting, without having to consider the possibility of injury), but some think that it’s not “real” racing if humans aren’t pushing their own limits in the car.