Auto Tech

Watch the Roborace self-driving race car tackle the Goodwood hill climb

It was only a practice, but it was a pretty solid session.

Roborace

In preparation for its first proper run up the hill at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Roborace's Robocar undertook a practice run, and it seemed pretty darn successful.

Roborace is the first autonomous racing series, and this is the first year that autonomous vehicles will attempt Goodwood's hill climb. Roborace's practice run looked good -- it held some decent speed in the straights and around corners, looking pretty composed as it largely stuck in the middle of the road.

If it wanted to, Roborace's car could hustle up that hill. It has four 181-horsepower electric motors, one in each wheel, and the whole thing weighs less than 3,000 pounds. Roborace provides the bodies and an API to each team, which is responsible for adding their own AI algorithms to take the car around the track. The races, then, come down to who's built better software.

Goodwood poses some interesting challenges for an autonomous vehicle. As the video above notes, the track is narrow and some parts have tree cover that block the car's GPS signals, meaning it's up to the software to map an ideal path over the road. Will it perform as well during the main event as it did in practice? Let's hope so, because the car won't be capable of picking hay out of its own wheel wells. You can also check out a 360-degree video of the practice run below.