A race car with no one at the wheel spun around another to take the lead on an oval track at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday in a unique high-speed battle between self-driving vehicles.
Members of the Italian-American team PoliMOVE cheered as their Formula 1[ads1] race car, nicknamed “Minerva”, repeatedly passed a rival registered by the South Korean team Kaist.
Minerva was driving almost 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour) when it blew past the Kaist car, easily hitting the top speed that the organizers were hoping for.
But each racer was considered a winner by the organizers who saw the real victory as the fact that self-driving algorithms could handle the high-speed competition.
“It’s a success,” Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) co-organizer Paul Mitchell told AFP before the checkered flag was waved.
The race pitted teams of students from around the world against each other to increase the opportunities for self-driving cars, and improve the technology for use anywhere.
In October, the IAC put the brakes on self-driving F1 cars that drove together to allow more time to prepare the technology for the challenge, and instead chose to let them drive laps individually to see which one had the best time.
“This almost holds the world record for the speed of an autonomous car,” boasted PoliMOVE engineer Davide Rigamonti as he stared lovingly at the white and black beauty.
The single seat usually reserved for a driver was during this race instead packed with electronics.
PoliMOVE had a chance to win another race in October in Indianapolis, driving around 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) before slipping into a curve, according to Rigamonti.
On Friday, it was the South Korean entrance that spun out after driving past a car that was lined up by a team from the University of Auburn in the southern US state of Alabama.
“The students who program these cars are not mechanics; most of them knew nothing about racing,” said IndyCar specialist Lee Anne Patterson.
“We taught them about racing.”
Students program the software that controls the car by quickly analyzing data from sophisticated sensors.
The software that pilots the cars must predict how other vehicles on the track will behave, and then maneuver accordingly, according to Markus Lienkamp, professor at Munich, TUM, who won the October competition.
Nearby, Lienkamp’s students are glued to screens.
“It plays out in milliseconds,” Mitchell said.
“The computer has to make the same decisions as a human driver, despite the speed.”
IAC plans to organize other races according to Friday’s model – to put two cars against each other, hoping to reach a level sufficient for one day to start all the vehicles together.
150 mph without driver: Indy autonomous cars get ready for races
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Self-driving racing cars go down in history at CES (2022, January 8) retrieved January 8, 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-01-self-driving-cars-history-ces.html
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