Automotive

Video: Sit behind the wheel of a self-driving racecar

Video: Sit behind the wheel of...
The Roborace DevBot is a prototype for the finished self-driving racer 
The Roborace DevBot is a prototype for the finished self-driving racer 
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The Roborace DevBot is a prototype for the finished self-driving racer 
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The Roborace DevBot is a prototype for the finished self-driving racer 
The first outing for DevBots didn't go to plan in Buenos Aires, but the lap of Berlin was much smoother 
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The first outing for DevBots didn't go to plan in Buenos Aires, but the lap of Berlin was much smoother 
DevBot has a steering wheel, but it runs without a driver 
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DevBot has a steering wheel, but it runs without a driver 
The DevBot prototype is helping prepare Roborace for its eventual debut
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The DevBot prototype is helping prepare Roborace for its eventual debut
A DevBot takes to the track 
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A DevBot takes to the track 
The Roborace DevBot is a prototype, but the real car has also hit the track 
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The Roborace DevBot is a prototype, but the real car has also hit the track 

RoboRace is shaping up as an intriguing motorsport category, but there's still plenty of work to be done before autonomous racers are trading paint like their human-driven counterparts. This fact is resoundingly proven by footage taken on board a DevBot prototype around the Berlin ePrix Circuit.

The video below can be taken one of two different ways. Optimists will see the lap, which is conducted at something approaching race pace, as a huge step towards fully-functioning autonomous racers. Pessimists are more likely to note the fact the car coasts for long periods, misses most apexes by a few meters and never looks particularly fluid.

This isn't the first time we've been given a look at DevBots on the racetrack. Earlier this year, two development cars took to the track in Buenos Aires. They hit speeds up to 186 km/h (116 mph), but one of the two cars didn't make it back to the pits after an on-track "incident." A working example of the Daniel Simon-designed racer also hit the track in Paris, but never went faster than walking pace.

The series will eventually run alongside Formula E and when it finally gets going – hopefully this year – teams will be able to program a Nvidia Drive PX2 processor to try and make their car faster than the rest. Top speed is pegged at 200 mph (322 km/h) thanks to four 300 kW (402 hp) electric motors, and the cars will race as a support series for Formula E.

You can see the on-board from Berlin below.

Autonomous Racing Car Full Lap | Devbot | Berlin 2017

5 comments
RobertMinter
A great human achievement but dull.
Bob Flint
For a closed track that is perfectly digitally plotted this thing should have been blasting through the course. The whiney audio is really annoying as well...
rseifer
At first I was intrigued with the idea of autonomous race cars, but the idea is really without merit. Racing is about guys (and ladies) competing in cars. It's in the blood of young people, and even in some of the less-young, such as myself. If there's an overwhelming compulsion to compete in cars without drivers, that development was settled three or four decades ago with the innovation of slot cars and slot car tracks. Racing is done with cars and real people, perhaps computer-assisted, but not computer-replaced. Ralph L. Seifer, Long Beach, California
Graeme S
Now that you have created it, will you give it free will to choose to do it your way or choose to do it its way.
ljaques
No competition. Not even CLOSE to race speeds. No drift, no tire squeal, nothing. YAWN.