Autonomous cars are set to take over the world's roads, transforming the way we travel.
Leading the pack is Robocar, a futuristic self-driving electric vehicle from British start-up Roborace.
Roborace demonstrated its robot's capabilities by taking the car to 282.42 km/h (175.49 mph) – an average confirmed by the UK Timing Association – at RAF Elvington, Yorkshire, UK, claiming the record for fastest autonomous car.
The record was achieved during a two-way run at Elvington Airfield Circuit Race Track on 21 March 2019.
Robocar was tested during a two-way run along a 2.6-km (1.6-mile) straight at Elvington. Its east-to-west speed was clocked at 280.365 km/h (174.21 mph) and west-to-east was 284.492 (176.77 mph), as confirmed by the UK Timing Association (UKTA). The wind averaged 12.8 km/h (8 mph).
Robocar also holds the record for the first autonomous car to complete the Goodwood Hillclimb in 2018, completing the course in 1 minute 15 seconds.
Robocar replaces a human driver with an AI that runs on its built-in NVIDIA Drive PX2 computer. The robot’s decisions are based on data from an array of sensors, including radar LIDAR cameras and GPS.
GPS is used to monitor its position, checking the data against a map of the track created during practise runs. A top-mounted 360-degree camera will allow fans to experience competitions from a unique view.
It is sure to make an impression, with the sleek and futuristic look of a car from 2190, not 2019. The car’s bodywork is made from carbon fibre, and each wheel has its own dedicated electric motor. Together, the wheels generate more than 540 kW (720 hp). Cooling outlets can be seen on the side of the car, with a honey comb design cut out of carbon fibre, to help maintain Robocar’s 58-kWh battery at an optimum temperature.
The autonomous car was designed by automotive futurist Daniel Simon (Germany), who created the vehicles for movies such as Tron: Legacy (USA, 2010) and Captain America: The First Avenger (USA, 2011), and built and tested by Roborace (UK).
You can see the actual car for yourself at the Science Museum's 'Driverless: Who is in Control?' exhibition in London from October half term (21-27 October) until October 2020 where you can also learn about autonomous vehicles and discover how they are shaping the world around us.
Roborace’s futuristic achievement has earned it a two-page spread in Guinness World Records 2020, as part of our dedicated robots section that explores all manner of mechanical marvels, including the largest flying robot insect and a variety of humanoids.