Autonomous Cars (Also known as Ghost Cars)

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What Are Autonomous Cars?

As the name suggests, autonomous cars (AC) are cars which are not controlled by a person but rather by hard or software. In SmartRace for SCX Advance, you can configure as many autonomous cars as you wish – and you can even have them refuel at the pits. There are some steps you need to follow in order to get autonomous cars up and running – here is how it works.

Configure Autonomous Cars

  1. Connect SmartRace to your SCX Advance track and make sure to pair at least one controller. An autonomous car is depending on a controller just as a regular car.
  2. Go to Autonomous Cars in the main menu in SmartRace. After your current pairings have been loaded, you can chose which of them you would like to use as autonomous cars. To enable the AC for any of the controllers, toggle the switch next to the controller ID.
  3. Make sure that the car which is paired to the controller is on the track and the controller is switched on. Now select the cars speed by using the slider next to the toggle. Start with a low value and increase it slowly to see which speed the car can handle before it deslots.
  4. You can stop and re-start the selected car anytime by pressing the play or stop button next to the speed slider.
  5. When you’re done configuring your autonomous cars, save your changes using the green save button on the bottom of the screen.
Configuration Screen for Autonomous Cars

Make Autonomous Cars use fuel

If you would like autonomous cars to use fuel just as regular cars, enable the fuel consumption for Autonomous Cars in Settings > Fuel Simulation in the main menu. Once enabled, AC will consume fuel as configured. When their fuel drops below 20%, they will automatically try to enter the pit lane to refuel. They will recognize if another car is already in the pit lane and only enter if the pit lane is not already occupied.

Please note: Due to technical limitations of the SCX Advance hardware, commands which are sent to autonomous cars will sometimes be delayed. This means that they will not stop immediately when the event is stopped and will not start immediately if the event is (re)started. The same goes for stopping in the pit lane, which might mean that an AC which is trying to refuel will try to enter the pits several times before it actually manages to stop in the right spot.

How Autonomous Cars will behave

Autonomous cars will start driving automatically whenever you start an event. To avoid crashes, the car will not start when you connect SmartRace to your track. In that case, you’ll need to stop and restart the current event once.

The timing table showing an autonomous car with fuel consumption enabled.

Important things to consider

  • The more autonomous cars you configure, the more delay you will experience when it comes to AC reacting to commands like start and stop (see blue box above). This is due to the fact that the track will only be able to process so many commands in a certain period of time.
  • If you’re using the default pit lane (consisting of entry, 2 straight pieces and exit lane) and you configure the AC to be too fast, it might not be able to stop in time to make a pit stop for refueling. Please consider either setting a lower speed or extending your pit lane (please make to only use the proper pit lane pieces for this).
  • Autonomous cars will stop driving if their controller is switched off or goes to standby. In order to avoid that, consider fixing the controller in a pressed position with a piece of rubber or tape.
  • If your autonomous cars have trouble entering the pit lane, consider relocating your crossings to make it easier for them to find the pit entry.

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