After reaching an average speed of 175.49 mph over two runs at Elvington Airfield in the UK back in March, Roborace’s Robocar entered into the annals of the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest autonomous car. And now it’s official in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records, which was just released.
- Robocar sets the benchmark for autonomous car speed and makes it official by inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- The record setting run demonstrates autonomous vehicles can not only drive themselves but also be exciting.
While 175.49 mph is nothing to sneeze at, it doesn’t compare to the pre-production Bugatti Chiron that sped into history by setting a new TÜV-certified speed record of 304.773 mph. Then again, Bugatti had a person at the wheel steering the car. Robocar drove itself.
Setting the benchmark
As the first autonomous vehicle vying in the category, any speed would have set a benchmark. To make the run significant, Guinness required Robocar to hit at least 160mph. Robocar’s run is even more impressive when you consider that a test vehicle called the “DevBot” only hit the test track in early 2016.
Robocar was developed for Roborace, a global competition for autonomously driven, electric-powered vehicles as part of Formula E. No competitions have taken place yet, but Roborace promises the debut of Season Alpha this year.
Though watching autonomous cars zoom around the track like Hot Wheels is novel, it’s not the reason Roborace came into being. The purpose is to provide a testing ground to prove and advance autonomous driving systems.
Measuring 15.7 feet long by about 6.5 feet wide and weighing 2149.5 pounds, Robocar gets its power from four electric motors capable of 300 kW each. To drive itself, the car incorporates such technologies as AI cameras and speed sensors, radar and ultrasonic sensors.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Many advances in car technologies come from the racing world, where they are inspired, tested and refined. Roborace positions itself as a racing platform for the specific purpose of pushing autonomous vehicle technology forward. In addition, setting a respectable speed record demonstrates autonomous vehicles don’t have to be boring or plod far behind gas-chugging counterparts.