Roborace brand currently has two vehicles in its fleet namely the DevBot and Robocar. The company is development robot using a platform for testing new technology and software. Unlike Robocar, though, DevBot has room for a driver as well.
“We’re focused now on DevBot and using that because the development platform, but the target is to be ready to take that software and use it in Robocar. We’re running with DevBot 2.0 in Season Alpha, which gives us the opportunity to use humans within those competition formats,” said Balcombe.
In recent years they’ve done human versus machine competitions. This season they are looking at experimenting with having human in for part of the race and AI for the second part, while some are pure AI races only.
“So when we’ve done human versus machine competitions, it’s been really interesting, No. 1, to see the human’s reaction, that they want to beat the robot. There’s that competitive element there. And then, No. 2, from the AI teams, who really want to get as close to and then eventually beat the human drivers. So they’re probably about 5-10% away at the moment, before we get to the human level of performance,” said Balcombe.
The racers have exactly the same types of sensors and computers that you’ll find in the autonomous-vehicle industry that’s being developed by companies such as Waymo, for example. They’re running lidar, radar, machine-vision cameras, sonar.
“We have an accurate GPS inertial system that’s so accurate you’ll do missile guidance with it. So we have export restrictions on those products, some of those products. But yeah, it’s exactly the same as you would use on the road. And that’s really key for us is that the technology that’s developed in competition here at our racetrack transfers to that road industry.”