A new type of driverless “Roborace” car made its debut Thursday night in a variety of different layouts of the track at the Shenzhen International Speed Festival. The race went on, without any interruptions by the other drivers and without fatalities, the Daily Mail reports. In its first public outing, the experimental robot was able to navigate the 450-meter-long outdoor track at a safe speed without any injuries despite crashing into a wall, dropping the car into a slow pit, and then returning to finish the run at full speed. “If we can do in a 50,000-meter-long track, 200 meters,” Roborace co-founder and CEO Eric Ries, said, according to the Times. “These are very, very small steps. You can’t compare that to what we’re capable of.”
One of Roborace’s goals for 2020 is to bring driverless cars racing to the annual Formula E race, which was created to be the inaugural competition for the world’s first electric car racing series. While Roborace already has an agreement with commercial sponsorship, it is hoping to eventually partner with major automakers to add autonomous vehicles. If successful, Roborace could pave the way for driverless race cars to have as much physical capability as self-driving cars on the roads.
Over the weekend, Roborace revealed details of its next test driverless race, which is set to be used for next year’s Formula E world championship. In its first 2016 test, it outran the Manx Mini.