A few days ago, Siemens unveiled a classic, first-generation Ford Mustang fitted with autonomous driving technologies. They said that they will run it during the Goodwood Festival of Speed to show off what it can do. On the day of the run, however, it went less than perfectly.
When it set off for the run up the Goodwood driveway, it rolled off rather leisurely, but that was the least of its problems. A few meters from the start, the car began darting right, straight into the hay bales and nearly hit it in the process. Fortunately, the Mustang still had someone behind to wheel to correct its course.
Throughout its drive, the Mustang was seemingly magnetized towards the hay bales, which required constant correction from the person behind the steering wheel. It struggled to stay straight and weaved aimlessly even when there were no turns. Corners on the other hand posed an even greater challenge, occasionally steering the wrong way. Fortunately, speeds were low enough to not pose a threat to the bystanders.
Needless to say, the run saw some colorful words from the commentators, who also poked fun at the car's run. If there's any consolation however, the Mustang did make it to the end of the course, albeit with a lot of 'elements of correction', as the commentators put it. While Siemens hasn't explained why the car and the system behaved that way, some are saying it was due to the narrow track and trees throwing off GPS signals and other sensors. It does beg the question, 'are we ready for autonomous cars?'
On the flipside, Roborace's car, which has no driver at all, went up the track at a strong pace. It got to the end much faster than the Mustang, taking just a little over a minute and 15 seconds. They didn't even need to steer it back into place as there was literally no one steering the car. Perhaps we're not ready for full autonomy just yet, but the tech is there to get it rolling.