Watch: Devbot races Formula E’s Nicki Shields at Hong Kong EPrix

Devbot races Formula E's Nicki Shields

The concept devised by Roborace, that of autonomous racing cars competing against each other has been around for a while now. In fact, the budding autonomous racing car championship is now a firm fixture of Formula E race weekends as a supporting act. The events are held using the Robocar prototype, Devbot. Consequently, the self driving development racing car recently took to the track in a race against a human driver at the Hong Kong EPrix. The autonomous race car’s competitor was none other than Formula E’s Nicki Shields.

Devbot Goes Head to Head with Nicki Shields

Although Nicki’s only previous racing experience is in karting when she was younger, the FE presenter can hold her own on the race track. Up against the living, breathing driver was Devbot. The prototype is a sophisticated piece of machinery that has been taught to race for months now. So who would win? The answer is in the video below:

For those who look forward to an Utopia of autonomous vehicles, the future looks bright despite Devbot’s loss. And for proponents of human drivers, Shield’s victory may just be as rewarding. All in all, its clear that automation is now on an unstoppable march. Self-driving cars for consumers are already available from a range of manufacturers. As a result, it was only a matter of time before the tech was applied to racing.

In the end, Shield pips the machine by posting a quicker lap by just over 7 seconds. However, you get the feeling that its only a matter f time before machines beats man. . .

For the full racing laps for each driver click here for Devbots lap, and here for Nicki’s perspective on her flying lap.

Devbot races Formula E's Nicki Shields
Devbot races Formula E’s Nicki Shields at Honk Kong EPrix. – picture credit:

Roborace Research and Development Continues

Consequently, technologies such as Roborace are now within reach. The autonomous racing car championship is due to be launched in the near future. The eagerly anticipated spectacle will launch once the technologies required are perfected. In fact, the main purpose of the racing championship is to help quicken the pace of autonomous vehicle development. That goal would be achieved in much the same way as manufacturer’s in F1 work.

For example, in the leading racing formula, car makers apply what they learn from their race cars to their consumer models. Roborace will have something similar with all the teams using the same cars made by the same company. Ultimately the competition comes through the real-time computing algorithms and artificial technology the teams develop for their respective cars.

In addition to positive aspects such as safety, this method allows for greater understanding of new and upcoming technologies. As a result, the race track allows for in-depth exploration in a controlled environment before they are deployed for use in the wider world.

For now, development continues through the Devbot prototype and the results are quite impressive indeed.

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