Many are so intrigued and debating about the emergence of autonomous cars on the streets, but not so much are batting an eye to driverless street cars. Well, they are slowly making a name also in an effort to understand what the future of autonomous cars will be like in general.
Last month, there’s already an event called Autonomous Track Day that featured autonomous cars. It was a first, held in California’s Thunderhill Raceway, and the biggest event so far involving driverless cars speeding on racetracks.
Source: TrackFever Channel
Joshua Schachter, organizer and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, described the event as a unique opportunity to “try out new things in a less strenuous environment than the street, with pedestrians and traffic and that kind of thing.”
In attendance was George Hotz to witness the performance of his autonomous 2016 Acura ILX. He is also interested how driverless cars will fare in the racetracks. He shares, “If you can understand how to race, you can also understand what to do in a lot of evasive safety critical situations.”
It’s not entirely autonomous though that happened in Thunderhill, as human drivers first step foot on the cars for a few circuits until the cars processed the data and routes and soon raced on their own. Technically, the racing that happened wasn’t a competition but more of speed trials.
An upcoming event to be hosted by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) might be the legitimate one yet. To start on December during the 2016-2017 Formula E championship, FIA wil organize a “Roborace” that will involve ten teams to speed race driverless cars for a competition.
There’s a twist in FIA’s event: each racer will have the exact same car to work with, which is a fully driverless model powered by Nvidia’s Drive PX 2 supercomputer. Each car will track data but it is up for the team to maneuver the car with the artificial intelligence it holds. The teams will battle out strategies in calculating speed for curves and in acting what to do in almost collisions.
While the driverless cars on the streets are still a subject of debate, driverless race cars have already established ground on their own.