Autonomous racing series, Roborace, has put its self-driving prototype to the test against a human driver around the streets of Hong Kong.
The comparison was run at the first Formula E race for the 2o17/18 season. Representing the robot revolution (or pending armageddon, depending on how you look at it) was DevBot, a bits-and-pieces prototype used to hone the software which will eventually power series entrants.
Formula E pit reporter, Nicki Shields, was tasked with defending human driving and, at risk of spoiling the video, did an admirable job. Although she isn’t a professional driver, Shields spent some time racing karts as a junior.
Above: The Roborace DevBot
This isn’t the first time Roborace has let one of its self-driving racers loose in a demonstration. A pair of DevBots took to the streets of Buenos Aires in February – one of them crashed, no less – while the glossy Roboracer that teams will actually be using conducted a tentative lap of the Paris ePrix circuit in May.
Shields lapped the Hong Kong circuit in 1:26.6 and 1:26.8 on her two attempts, compared to the DevBot’s best of 1:34.0.
Although it was almost eight seconds slower than its human competitor, there are still some positives to be taken from the DevBot’s laps. Both laps were almost identical, with lap times within one thousandth of a second of each other, for one.
But for now, humans still have a handy edge over robots when it comes to racing.