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    Self-Driving Racecar Crashes at the First Ever Roborace Autonomous-Vehicle Competition

    Self-driving car crash

    Self-driving car crash

    In the first-ever live broadcast of a Roborace autonomous-vehicle competition, which is exactly what the name suggests, a car went off-grid and crashed into a wall.

    Automation is the future; from factories to even cars, Artificial Intelligence or AI is being developed across the world to create a future with as little human effort as possible. One of the most promising fields in this journey is of self-driving cars.

    From Tesla’s and Google maps automated cars to fantasy versions in shows like Westworld; the idea of self-driving cars fascinates all tech-buffs. However, the future where you simply sit in your car and tell it go places, instead of driving, still has a long way to go.

    In the first-ever live broadcast of a Roborace autonomous-vehicle race, which is exactly what the name suggests, a car went off-grid and crashed into a wall. The car belonged to Acronis SIT Autonomous. Their car never made the finish line, if fact it barely left the start line correctly.

    The Roborace calls this event a Season Beta where six teams are competing in three-lap time-trial races with electric cars driving through a mixed-reality “metaverse.” They will lap real-world racetracks but they will have some virtual obstacles fed into the system. The AI driver will have to manoeuvre through them and finish as quickly as possible.

    Some teams chose to skip the virtual obstacle, and in turn, received a little time penalty. But the wall with which the Acronis SIT Autonomous car collided was very real and may have caused very real damage.

    The cars used in this race are all on similar specs- DevBot 2.0 is the standard. However, how they control these cars is subjective to the software they develop.

    The team principle for SIT, Ilya Shimchik, said it wasn’t clear what caused the car to crash. But as the commentators can be heard in the video, it could be a number of things. AI malfunction or even a GPS abnormality. To be frank, the list of things that can go wrong with automated cars is quite long.

    This event was planned before the pandemic hit. Even before social distancing rules, the organisers must have been aware that something might go awry which is why spectator safety was kept in mind and people could enjoy the even remotely as well, according to Caranddriver.com.

    Instances like this show we have a long way to go when it comes to automation. US-based company called Waymo is expected to begin a driverless cab service in Phoenix, while General Motors plan to produce and test fully automated cars by the of 2020. These companies will need to make more test runs and be sure of their product. Otherwise, a car on the road is less likely to hit any unsubstantial and more likely to hit a person.

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