This week numerous cars will run up the infamous hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. However, two will stand out as pioneers and one of those is a distinctly classic 1965 Mustang, but this pony car will pilot itself through the course using technology from Siemens AG.
Siemens is preparing for an increasingly autonomous future and this is part of that. — Lee Dryden, Siemens
“To help celebrate Goodwood’s 25th year anniversary, we’ve partnered with Cranfield University to bridge the gap between the legacy of the automotive industry while pointing to the future of autonomy in terms of both motoring and wider industrial applications,” Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK & Ireland, said. “Customizing a 1965 Ford Mustang with autonomous technologies, we’re going to attempt the famous hillclimb autonomously for the first time in Goodwood’s history. With digitalization already everywhere, our aspiration will allow guests to take an awe-inspiring look into the future and experience the technology of tomorrow, today as a means of ensuring UK plc is at the forefront of a technology-led revolution like no other before it.”
This project brought the private sector and a university together to create a vehicle that bridges the gap between automotive history and its future.
“It’s the first time we have done anything like this and, yes of course, it is fun to do it for the Festival of Speed, but it also makes you think what cars might be like in the future,” Lee Dryden, Siemens’ head of marketing communications, explained. “Siemens is preparing for an increasingly autonomous future and this is part of that. Maybe there will be cars we can sleep in or watch a film in while they drive us to where we want to go. The Mustang raises those sorts of questions.”
The Mustang is still powered by its 200-horsepower, 289-cube small-block and shifted by a three-speed automatic. At the flick of a switch it can go from being driven normally to driving itself.
“It looks 100 percent original and it has the regular engine and three-speed transmission, plus the normal four-seat cabin,” Lee said. “But under the skin a huge amount has gone into it: the robotics and control systems to physically drive it, lots of sensors and all the software with the control algorithms.”
The complex hillclimb presents a unique challenge for this autonomous classic. As such, the team behind it turned to Bentley Systems to provide a three-dimensional scan of the course to help guide the Mustang up the hill. Even with that much tech onboard, it is only expected to ascend at about 40 MPH.
“Goodwood offers us a chance to reflect on why we have an emotional connection with cars and acts as a reminder that humans like to be engaged and part of the action,” Dr. James Brighton, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield, said. “The Siemens Autonomous Hillclimb challenge project connects the classic spirit of automotive adventure with advanced technology.”
Of course, the Mustang will carry lots of cameras on its journey, so there will surely be videos, and you can watch all the Goodwood action live on the stream below…