Robocar: the world’s first driverless race car
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Car manufacturers are pouring money into autonomous technology that'll make its way into vehicles we can all buy for our daily commute. Some car-makers like Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz already have vehicles with autonomous capabilities in their 2016 model range.
And now, there's one organization focused on taking automotive autonomous technology from the streets to the race track – Roborace
Roborace are the creators of the worlds first driverless race car, the Robocar, developed to compete in the worlds first driverless competition - The Roborace Championship.
Run in partnership with with Formula E and Kinetik, a futures investment firm, the Roborace Championship plans to run ‘Roboraces’ before Formula E races.
All teams will compete in a Robocar but individual teams will develop their own real-time computing and artificial intelligence algorithms. Meaning a competitive advantage can only be gained through superior real time computing analysis, creating a contest for the best technological minds in the automotive autonomy sector.
“Roborace is a celebration of the ground-breaking technology and innovation that exists today,” said Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Roborace.
“I passionately believe in the near future all of the world’s vehicles will be powered by electricity transforming the environment and our safety. The Roborace is a wonderful way to humanize that and share it with millions of people around the world.”
Back in August Roborace unveiled ‘Devbot’ – a robotic, driverless, electric development car.
The sole purpose of Devbot was to allow teams to develop their software and experience the hardware that will be used on the Robocar, but unlike Robocar, Devbot has a cabin that can be driven by a racer or computer, allowing teams to understand how the car behaves, thinks and reacts to changes on a racetrack.
DevBot is equipped with the same drivetrain, sensors, computation system and communication technology as Robocar.
The project was headed by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon, a well known industry figure due to his work in futuristic automotive design. Simon has been a Senior Designer at Bugatti, latter going on to design everything from drones, motorcycles, spaceships and Le Man cars - also completing a stint in Hollywood, working on Sci-Fi movies like Tron, Oblivion and Captain America.
“We’re living in a time where the once separated worlds of the automobile and artificial intelligence collide with unstoppable force. It’s fantastic to be part of this journey; it triggers all my big passions – motor racing, design and advanced technologies”, says Simon.
Whilst development and testing of Devbot was still ongoing. Roborace unveiled the technological capabillities on the production version of the Robocar.
“My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance,” said Simon.
“The Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment. Therefore – and quite unusual in today’s racing world – beauty was very high on our agenda and we work hard to merge the best performance with stunning styling”
“It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car to maintain a clean and iconic look. This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”
If your sick of whinging, overpaid race car drivers, this could well be the race series for you.
Roborace recently named Michelin as its official tyre partner, the third global partner to be officially announced, after I.T hardware company Nvidia, who will provide Robocar’s A.I brain, and Charge, a smart electic truck maker which will supply all power electronics.
Roborace is currently in its Beta season, appearing at Formula E circuits for exhibitions using its Devbot development car. The official unveiling of the championship's Ultimate car will take place in 2017.