Two Roborace DevBot cars zipped around the Formula E circuit in Buenos Aires at the weekend. The battle between DB1 and DB2 on the city street track on Feb 18 marked the first time two cars have been raced together, though only one driverless racer made it to the finish line.
First revealed toward the end of 2015, the Roborace autonomous racing series was planned to run alongside the 2016/17 Formula E all electric racing season. For the championships proper, it is expected that each of the 10 teams will have two cars each, running support races on city street tracks around the world.
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Before the championship cars get to emerge from the development pits though, DevBot mules were created to give Roborace engineers the chance to subject the self-driving test vehicles to race-like conditions and iron out any bugs. And though Roborace DevBots have been tested on circuits before, this latest outing on Feb 18 marked the first time two cars had been on the same track at the same time.
One of the self-driving cars took a nasty turn during the race – quite literally – and didn't make it to the checkered flag. Not much information about what happened to DB2 has been officially revealed, other than a tweet from the Roborace team advising that the car had "an incident on track, leaving Devbot 1 to win." Roborace hasn't posted any photos so far, but Autoblog Argentina did share a couple on its Twitter feed. The winning car is reported to have managed a respectable fastest lap top speed of 186 hm/h (115 mph).
The next Formula E Roborace outing is scheduled for Mexico City on April 1, by which time DB2 should have made a full recovery and could well be seeking a rematch. Meanwhile, the short video below (courtesy of Roborace) shows some of the Buenos Aires track action. There's no footage of the DB2 incident, but there are views from inside the cockpit.