Roborace successfully complete first ever autonomous FoS Hillclimb

Festival of Speed | Press Article 16/04/24

Landmark moment for Festival of Speed: First-ever driverless race car successfully completes iconic Goodwood Hillclimb

For immediate release: Friday 13 July, 2018

  • Roborace’s Robocar today became the first ever fully driverless race car to successfully complete the iconic Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018, presented by Mastercard
  • The milestone event is reached as Goodwood celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Festival of Speed
  • The electric, driverless race car navigated the famous 1.16-mile course at the Goodwood Estate using artificial intelligence
    • FoS Future Lab open throughout Festival of Speed, from 12 15 July 2018, 7am – 7pm each day

On Friday 13 July 2018, Roborace’s Robocar became the first ever driverless race car to complete the Hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, presented by Mastercard (running from 12 – 15 July).

The run is the first in the history of Goodwood to be completed by a race car that has no human driver in the car – a huge milestone moment for the Festival, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Visitors to Goodwood over the weekend will also get the chance to see the feat first-hand again, as Robocar will be attempting the Hillclimb once each day on Saturday and Sunday of the event.

The electric race car wowed the crowds as it took to the Hillclimb, using a variety of sensors located around the vehicle to give it 360-degree vision of its environment.  The information provided by these sensors gives Robocar the ability to localize its position on the hill and detect drivable surfaces and objects using deep neural networks.

“We are ecstatic that the team have been able to achieve this landmark run and we hope that it draws attention to the amazing advances that are being made in the automotive industry,” said Rod Chong, Deputy CEO of Roborace. “Robocar is an ambassador for the future technologies we will see on our roads and we hope that inspirational stunts like this will change public perceptions of autonomous vehicles.”

“It is an enormous achievement for a race car to complete the very first run of the Hill using only artificial intelligence,” said Charles Gordon-Lennox, the Duke of Richmond and Founder of the Festival of Speed. “Roborace has worked incredibly hard in order to pull this off and we are excited for the public to see them in action over the Festival weekend.”

Visitors to the Festival can also experience this historical run from the perspective of Robocar in the FoS Future Lab – an exciting technology showcase located in a pavilion on the Goodwood lawn. Inside the exhibition, Roborace is offering visitors the chance to try out a fully immersive VR simulator, in conjunction with HTC VIVE and DBOX.

In its second year at the Festival, the FoS Future Lab is bigger and even more exciting than its debut appearance at FoS 2017. This year’s exhibition focusses on innovation topics like space exploration, autonomous transport, robotics and personal flight. Visitors will be able to view displays and demonstrations, interact with some of the technology and learn more about the new and future technology featured.

Robocar, the world’s first autonomous race car, was designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist known for his work in Hollywood films such as Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

The vehicle weighs 1,350 kg and is powered by four 135kW electric motors used to drive each wheel, for a combined 500-plus hp. An NVIDIA DRIVE PX2 computer processes Robocar’s data, which includes inputs from the LiDar, radar, GPS, ultrasonic, and camera sensors.

Roborace provides the car with an API as a platform for teams who then add their AI driver algorithm to the vehicle.  Development of the automated driving system for the Robocar at Goodwood was led by ARRIVAL, the automotive technology company. 

The FoS Future Lab is open to the public throughout the Festival, which runs from July 12 – 15 2018, 7am – 7pm each day.



Staged every summer since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by MasterCard is the world’s largest automotive garden party; set against the spectacular backdrop of Goodwood House in West Sussex, UK. Over 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the phenomenal history of motoring and motor sport take part with some of the most legendary figures from the sport as well as international celebrities regularly attending. Highlights will include the FoS Future Lab, Forest Rally Stage, Michelin Supercar Paddock, Michelin Supercar Run, F1 paddock, Drivers’ Club, GAS Arena, Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance, Aviation Exhibition and Bonhams Auction.

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About Roborace

Roborace is the world’s first competition for human + machine teams, using both self-driving and manually-controlled cars. It is providing a platform for the development of future automated driving technologies for the many companies, organisations and individuals in that sector.  By creating an engaging new platform that pushes the limits of autonomous technology, improvements to road safety will be accelerated.

Race formats will feature new forms of immersive entertainment to capture the public’s imagination and redefine the way they think about self-driving technology.

For all media enquiries please contact:

Victoria Tomlinson

Head of PR and Communications, Roborace

Telephone: 07730217829


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