Sometimes, everything goes your way. And sometimes, you have a day where you feel like this autonomous Ford Mustang. At this point you’re probably expecting us to bust out the Mustang-crashing-into-crowds jokes, or better yet, how an autonomous Mustang could well replace Arnold Schwarzenegger to become the next Terminator. There was, after all, a Mustang nicknamed Terminator, but we digress.
This is actually a very high-tech creation that stems from a partnership between Siemens and Cranfield University. The goal was simple – bridge the gap between past and future by taking a classic Mustang and outfitting it with modern autonomous tech. It wasn’t converted to an electric runabout, however – the thumping American V8 still sends power to the rear wheels. Changes to the steering, throttle, and brakes, however, allow a computer to take control of the driving. It navigates via scanning tech and GPS systems, and based on this video, we think a bit more work needs to happen.
For the record, we must say that the Mustang did make it to the top. Granted, it took a very slow route during its aimless meander to the top and yes, the trip did include a sudden right turn for an interlude with a hay bale. But like any plucky American after downing a few too many rounds of Guinness while on vacation in the UK, it picked up its pride and soldiered forward to the finish – albeit four minutes after it started.
Joking aside, this is a rather notable achievement. Yes, autonomous cars are testing in conditions far more unpredictable than a 1.1-mile hill climb with controlled access, but hey, only a few manual corrections were needed during the run. Admittedly it’s hilarious to watch, but in some ways it’s like watching a baby take its first steps. One of the guest announcers mentioned during the run that the speed could be increased, and that the car will be making more passes during the event. That means there’s a chance the Mustang could redeem itself, provided it can learn the course a bit better.
Or it could become the Terminator. Only time will tell.
Gallery: Siemens Autonomous Mustang At Goodwood
Siemens reveals 1965 Ford Mustang as autonomous vehicle at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed
In a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the iconic Goodwood Festival of Speed, Siemens is set to make history with the first autonomous hillclimb in a 1965 classic Ford Mustang.
- Siemens unveils 1965 Ford Mustang as autonomous vehicle set to attempt the iconic hillclimb course at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed
- Challenge looks set to make history, combining classic engineering with autonomous technology
Utilising autonomous technology, developed in collaboration with Cranfield University, the autonomous hillclimb will be attempted on Thursday 12th July, before being repeated every day until the end of the festival. Footage of the attempt will also be livestreamed around the festival.
Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK & Ireland, said: 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.
“Customising 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 digitalisation 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.“
Dr James Brighton, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield, said: “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. The Siemens Autonomous Hillclimb challenge project connects the classic spirit of automotive adventure with advanced technology.”
Using a 1965 Ford Mustang for the autonomous hillclimb poses particular challenges for the team of Siemens’ engineers involved, none more so than the delicate handling control required to navigate the complex course.
Using advanced location scanning technology from Bentley Systems, the engineering team behind the vehicle have developed an accurate 3-Dimensional scan of the track to create connected awareness of the car’s own position.
The eye-catching vehicle, which has been wrapped in a silver design to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Goodwood, will be parked in the main paddock for visitors to get up close to, and learn more about the autonomous vehicle technology, and careers within STEM.
Elsewhere at Goodwood
Siemens is also exhibiting inside the Festival of Speed Future Lab, showcasing a four person Virtual Reality (VR) experience that will immerse visitors into future car design and engineering.
The world’s first VR designed, AI engineered and 3D printed car will also be on display in the Future Lab. Created by Hackrod and supported by Siemens, the ‘La Bandita’ speedster is intended to serve as proof of concept for an entirely new industrial design to production methodology.
Another highlight showcased by Siemens is the Renault R.S. 2027 Vision concept car, which leaps into the future with Renault Sport Formula One Team’s vision of where the sport is heading. Siemens utilised its advanced simulation and product lifecycle software to help Renault create its vision of a future F1 car. Displayed in the F1 Paddock, a life size model, printed in structural alloy, will be signposted from the Future Lab.