We keep hearing about autonomous cars, but have you ever thought about autonomous race cars?
Roborace is an organization who aims to create an autonomous version of Formula 1 racing under the same name all across the world. Instead of human drivers, the stars of the race are actually computer programmers who develop specialized software meant to push their cars to the maximum speed and efficiency needed to take the checkered flag.
Currently, Roborace uses a customized vehicle called the Devbot 2.0, which centrally manages the hardware and makes sure all teams are running the same equipment. The cars are all electric and run on an Nvidia DRIVE platform. Since the car (and the race itself) is still in its early stages, the cars can be driven by either a human or AI driver– allowing for the exploration of “the relationship between man and machine for assisted and autonomous technologies.”
The vehicles use five light-detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors, which measure distance using pulsed lasers; 18 ultrasonic, sound-sensitive sensors; two radar systems; six cameras; and GPS navigation. Their high-end onboard computers can perform up to 24 trillion operations per second, allowing the cars to process sensor data and make split-second decisions.