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Roborace will attempt a self-driving Goodwood hillclimb run

Fully autonomous racer is set to run up the famous 1.16-mile track

The march of progress slows for no human. It’s been 25 years since the first ever Goodwood Festival of Speed, and in 2018, we will have another first: the first ever fully autonomous run at Goodwood’s famous hillclimb. Yep, the Robocar.

A self-driving car. At Goodwood. Long home to some of the most glorious combustion-engined road and race cars our little blue planet has been privy to – driven by legends of racing – will now usher in an electric robot that drives itself.

Roborace will set its phenomenal Roboracer automonous EV off to tackle the 1.16-mile hillclimb, guided only by its artificial intelligence. This means hay bales. Flint walls. Forests. Confused onlookers.

The car of course, uses 360-degree sensors and has already proven itself around a variety of Formula E’s street circuits. But still. This is a big ask. Even for a machine with four electric motors, 500bhp, a variety of computer processors and LiDAR, radar, GPS, ultrasonic and camera sensors, and a shape sketched by a Hollywood designer.

Sergey Malygin, software chief at ARRIVAL – the company tasked with developing Robocar’s driving system – had this to say: “The Goodwood hillclimb presents a real challenge for level 4/level 5 autonomous driving systems.

“It is a narrow track with complex geometry. Turns and hills with a great deal of tree coverage mean you can’t rely on GPS/RTK signal for localisation,” he added.

Roborace boss and Formula E champ Lucas di Grassi said: “We are excited that the Duke of Richmond has invited us to make history at Goodwood as we attempt the first ever fully – and truly – autonomous uphill climb using only artificial intelligence.”

Like we said, the march of progress slows for no human…

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