In the first live broadcast of the Roborace autonomous-vehicle race series, one self-driving car left the starting grid and immediately veered into the pit-lane wall. For Acronis SIT Autonomous, the Swiss team fielding the car, the race was literally over before it began. Their car never made it across the starting line.
The vehicular faceplant came during the first event of what Roborace is calling Season Beta, in which six teams compete in three-lap time-trial races with electric cars driving through a mixed-reality “metaverse.” As they lap real-world racetracks, the cars are also supposed to avoid virtual obstacles and drive through virtual collectibles. Some teams, however, chose to plow through the virtual walls and take time penalties in favor of setting a faster lap time. Unfortunately for Acronis SIT Autonomous, the wall its car tried to drive through was very real.