Watch an autonomous race car tackle England’s famous Goodwood hill climb

All kinds of cars turn up at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed to run up Goodwood’s famous hill climb course, but none have ever done it like this. Roborace’s autonomous race car, called Robocar successfully navigated the 1.16-mile course without a human driver onboard, becoming the first vehicle to do so.

Roborace hopes to launch a race series for self-driving cars featuring the Robocar. But so far it’s just conducted a series of high-profile public tests using both the Robocar and an earlier prototype called DevBot. While the DevBot has a full set of manual controls, the only way for a human being to ride the Robocar would be to jump on top like Slim Pickens riding that nuclear missile in Dr. Strangelove.

Like most self-driving cars, the Robocar uses an array of sensors to orient itself, including radar, lidar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and GPS. Information from all of these sensors is processed by a Nvidia Drive PX 2 computer.

The car weighs 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds) and is powered by four electric motors that, together, develop over 500 horsepower, according to Roborace. The specifications have changed a bit since the original Robocar prototype debuted, indicating that the design of the car is still in flux. What hasn’t changed is the futuristic body penned by Daniel Simon, who previously designed vehicles for movies like Tron: Legacy and Oblivion.

Roborace plans to provide Robocars to teams as an API (application for programming interface). All cars will be mechanically identical, but teams will be able to write their own driving algorithms. Instead of hiring a better driver, teams will program one. Races are expected to be run in concert with Formula E, which features human-driven electric cars. Roborace plans to use the same tracks as Formula E, running its races during Formula E’s downtime.

The Robocar wasn’t the only self-driving car at Goodwood this year. It was joined by a 1965 Ford Mustang modified with autonomous-driving tech from Siemens and Cranfield University. But the Mustang’s outing didn’t go as plan. The car set off at a slow pace, then proceeded to zigzag across the track. A human safety driver had to retake control multiple times in order to keep the Mustang on course. Siemens said this underwhelming performance was due to a steering issue and had nothing to do with its self-driving tech.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Self-driving cars, ocean exploration, and holiday shopping

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discussed the first self-driving car service in Phoenix, an expedition heading to the bottom of the world's oceans, and talked to Liz Dunn from Pro4ma about holiday shopping trends.
Cars

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.