Many automakers have begun testing self-driving cars on public roads, but probably not like this.
Roborace became the first series to race two driverless cars on city streets Saturday ahead of Formula E’s Buenos Aires ePrix. Its two development race cars, dubbed Devbot 1 and Devbot 2, raced around a 12-turn street circuit in the Argentine capital.
Although the race was a significant milestone for both Roborace and the automotive industry as a whole, there was one hiccup. While battling for position, Devbot 2 made contact with the barrier, handing victory to Devbot 1.
Such incidents highlight the benefits of using motorsport to test new technology, as this allows engineers to find the limits of its abilities in a controlled environment. Roborace chief marketing officer Justin Cooke told the BBC that’s why his team wasn’t discouraged by the crash.
“It’s actually fantastic for us because the more we see these moments the more we are able to learn and understand what was the thinking behind the computer and its data,” Cooke said. “The car was damaged, for sure, but it can be repaired. And the beauty is no drivers get harmed because there is no one in them.”
If Devbot 2 crashing out while attempting an overtake wasn’t proof enough the cars were pushing hard, Devbot 1’s pace should be. The car topped out at 115.5 mph on its fastest lap.
During Season 3 of FE, Roborace will continue to promote its technology with demo runs during race weekends.