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Self-Driving Track Days Event

by Angelos Lakrintis | Sep 23, 2016

On Friday the 16th of September Strategy Analytics was invited to attend the first Self-Driving Track Day event. The organiser was Sense Media and it was hosted at the Google Campus in London.  Sense media events is a company specialising on creating a business to business collaboration and connecting experts in the field of advance machine perception via sensors, signal processing through conferences and events.

This first meetup was an opportunity for companies, hobbyists, entrepreneurs and academia to join and network with the ultimate goal to form teams and create self-driving prototype vehicles for racing. The event organiser and main presenter of the meetup was Alex Lawrence-Berkley and he is the Marketing Manager of Sense Media.

The Plan

This event was the first of a series of multiple events that will create as a final result a big racing competition by creating teams from different backgrounds in order to design, assemble and race autonomous vehicles.

Sense media has teamed with AutonomouStuff, an American supplier for autonomous vehicle technology, as a commercial partner. This strategic partnership will begin immediately and last until August 2017, after the last event is scheduled, which will be run in UK, France and Austria.

Timeline

There will be four main events that will take place in three different countries in Europe.

The first main event will be at Bruntingthorpe proving ground in Leicestershire in November 2016. This is a large run-off area with marked multi-lane motorway and long straight lines that will be an easy task for autonomous vehicle prototypes. The presenter stated that in this first “race” he doesn’t expect the teams to have created a vehicle as of yet. Instead vehicles from the academia and research and development companies will contribute in order to race in this controlled environment.

Bruntingthorpe

After the assembly of the teams, the second event will take place in Longcross proving ground in Surrey on May 2017. The organiser hopes that everything will be ready for a maiden race of the self-driving prototypes.

Longcross

Third race and further workshops will be held at the Castellet Driving Centre. The advantage of this driving centre which is located in France is that it has a 1.6 km long main track, ideal for sporty driving and driving testing for learner drivers.

Castellet

The last event will be held at Zentrum Teesdorf in Austria in July 2017. In this last event there will be training workshops on autonomy related technologies; an autonomous/ driverless technology recruitment fair to whomever is interested pursuing a job in the automated/ autonomous engineering sector. Last but not least the track will be free to use to any Formula Student and Formula Student Driverless team.

Zentrum Teesdorf

These events also give an educational opportunity to the attendees in order to learn through training. Additionally the future “self-driving track days” event will include:

Driverless Boot-Camps: A week-long residential training to learn new skills, develop teams and create entry level driverless vehicles.

Open Source Autonomous Vehicle: Contributions in software, hardware and firmware in order to fill the gaps in the existing open source space.

Other Autonomous Driving Events

 

RoboRace

 RoboRace is the first robotics motorsports competition. The vision is that the main superstars won’t be the drivers (there will be none), but rather the software, perception and algorithm engineers that devise the control systems for the race cars.  NVIDIA itself plans to run one of the vehicles, which will be identical except for the on-board software.

The event will start in October 2016 and it is intended take place before the start of the Formula E series.  The 10 teams will qualify from a pool of contestants that will race on a simulated virtual model of the track in real life conditions. The winners of the virtual qualification will be able to participate to the real race. 

Roborace_Sensors

Self-Racing Cars

Took place in May 2016, Self-Racing Cars is a new race series started by Joshua Schachter an entrepreneur as a way for companies and hobbyists to test their autonomous vehicles and learn from each other. The event had no rules and no qualifying whatsoever. Anyone who had an autonomous vehicle could basically apply and attend at the day of the race. The test track that hosted the race was the Thunderhill Raceway on Willow California.

There were a great number of companies that attended the event including:

  • AutonomouStuff with their retrofitted autonomous Lincoln MKZ.
  • Swift Navigation
  • Comma.ai with a retrofitted electric car from Wheego and their Honda Acura ILX.
  • Renovo Motors with their unique cars.
  • Polysync with their retrofitted Kia Soul.
  • 3DRobotics with a retrofitted GoKart.
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