The Acronis SIT Autonomous Roborace team bounced back from an indifferent opening weekend at Thruxton to dominate the field and win both rounds at the Bedford Autodrome.
Running second to Autonomous Racing Graz in Round 3, SIT Autonomous enjoyed a trouble-free opening run, collecting 58 ‘collectable’ virtual targets from the Roborace ‘metaverse’ whilst hitting just one obstacle.
Following on from some teething troubles in the opening two rounds, tweaks were made to the format, with teams running three ‘free laps’ before each ‘metaverse lap’ to check all systems were operating as should.
“It was in our data sets how we participated and how many collectables we collected and how many collected and how many collectables we may collect,” said Ilya Shimchik, team lead of SIT Autonomous after the opening run. “Maybe we missed some collectables but anyway we are quite satisfied with our results right now. Let’s see where it puts us compared to the other teams at the end of the day.”
The team’s Devbot was also relatively quick, topping 140kph, but they were cautious not to go too fast and compromise the opening run.
“There was a cap on that, so we capped for 140 to be on the safe side and actually I believe we can do a but higher up to 180 or 170 on this track but we decided to be on the safe side because the track is wet and cold. We can make a more justified decision after we see each team race today.”
The result was comprehensive, as the only other team to manage a time were Autonomous Racing Graz albeit a massive 7 minutes and 3 seconds off SIT, having made 37 collectables but hitting 10 obstacles.
— Roborace (@roborace) December 11, 2020
“To be honest, it’s king of mixed feelings for me and for the team, because from one side it’s first place but from another side we cannot compare our software with other teams. We can only compare our progress with the first round. Now we showed a good, stable result, so I’m quite happy. From the other side we didn’t see other team’s performance at a good level. We are trying to be better each round.”
Ilya really needn’t have worried too much, as yet again three teams failed to complete their laps and set a time. And with MIT Driverless this time disqualified for breaching track limits, it meant a straight fight between Acronis SIT Autonomous and chief rivals Arrival Racing.
It was a close-run affair, Arrival picking up 77 collectables compared to Acronis SIT’s 63 but with Acronis managing a much faster average time of 141.5kph compared to that of Arrival’s 135.7kph. It meant Acronis SIT were again the winners in the overall time but by a close 21 seconds.
— Roborace (@roborace) December 12, 2020
“We can relax now,” added Ilya after scooping both trophies. “We are quite happy to see such a competitive result. Actually it was impressive to see how our rival performed and how MIT performed at the end of the day. I think the big competition has been started.
“I think right now the speed was our advantage, but actually I think during our run we had not such good conditions as other teams. It was wetter, compared to MIT at least, and I think we can show higher results with better track conditions. Also we noticed there is a way to improve our performance with metaverse, so that is the area we will work on. We’ll think of a way how to collect more objects and how to avoid obstacles better.”
It means that after the opening two rounds, it couldn’t be tighter at the top with Acronis SIT Autonomous and Arrival Racing tied for first position with a total of 2800 points.
— Roborace (@roborace) December 14, 2020