Regardless of marketing, fully self-driving cars do not exist and may not exist in large numbers in the coming years. On a clear sunny day, it is difficult enough to perfectly navigate crowded highways, narrow side streets, and quiet tree-lined roads. With the addition of snow, rain and volatile drivers, the big challenges ahead of automakers begin to appear. It’s also a challenge for racing teams trying to get autonomy on track.
A new video of today’s Roboless event, a sister series of Formula E, shows one autonomous race car off to a very bad start. A short clip shows a car that is part of the SIT Acronis Autonomous Racing Team stopping before taking off, except that it does not go straight on a sharp curve. Instead, it turns to the right and forces it directly into the wall. You can see the red part of the exterior of the car, and it is flying in the air due to the impact. painful.
That wasn’t the only problem. In another video, another race car is winding a curve, but it’s not navigating properly. It starts running into the grass, but the car tries to fix itself, so the rear end loses grip and turns around. Not as dramatic as the first crash, but it reminds us of how far an autonomous race car has to go. You can see the entire event here on Twitch. The crash occurs at 1:19:30.
Racing often acts as a testbed for new automotive technologies. Disc brakes, semi-automatic gearboxes, carbon fiber, etc. were tested and tested on race trucks before being installed in everyday consumer vehicles. I think it’s easy to develop an autonomous race car, but it’s not. Not only do cars need to navigate race tracks, but they also need to navigate very fast, making instant decisions dangerous and difficult. The STI Acronis car was stopped before hitting the wall. Now imagine adding another race car to your mix.