|Self-driving tech returns to California racetrack|
Some of the most notable innovations in the automotive industry have trickled down from racing. Joshua Schachter hopes the same will someday be said for self-driving technology.
Schachter is the founder of Self Racing Cars, an annual event that allows participants to test their self-driving chops at racing speeds.
After a pandemic-related hiatus, Self Racing Cars returns to Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, Calif., next month. The event will be held Oct. 16-17 and once again meld racing and autonomy.
Teams compete for fastest lap time on the closed course. But the event is about more than lap times. It's more so a chance for anyone — from large companies such as Nvidia to small startups — to test their technologies in a closed-course setting and to gather a community of tinkerers from all corners.
It helps developers building their own systems collect data from real-world, yet controlled, scenarios.
"We invite anyone who has autonomous vehicles or autonomous-relevant technology to demo and test on a racetrack where safety is prioritized, but DOT regulations are not relevant," Schachter said.
Among the companies scheduled to participate this year are Nvidia, Point One Navigation and delivery tech startup Boltu Robotics. Participants can test AVs, electric vehicles, simulated systems, sensors, software, algorithms and teleoperation. Schachter said individuals and hobbyists are "especially" welcome, and the event often features teams testing autonomous go-karts.
This year, he expects participants to test everything from full-size cars to electric three-wheelers and radio-controlled cars. Companies or individuals interested in joining can find more information at selfracingcars.com.
— Pete Bigelow