Would you watch a racing series with self-driving cars?
Well, this was bound to happen. With autonomous car tech being such a topical talking point in the auto industry right now, it was surely only a matter of time before we would see race-spec variants. And lo and behold, Roborace has done just that, revealing its production-ready self-driving race car called the Robocar at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona after showing off a concept last year. Its radical design, courtesy of Daniel Simon who’s best known for his work on Tron: Legacy, looks like something out of a video game.
Since the Robocar doesn’t have to fit a driver inside, Simon had complete creative freedom to design a car from his wildest dreams, and it certainly shows. It only weighs 2149 pounds and is powered by four 300-kW electric motors, one at each wheel, allowing the Robocar to reach a top speed of 200 mph and use a comprehensive suite of hardware to guide itself around a track. This includes five LIDAR sensors, two radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, two optical speed sensors and six cameras. Initially, Roborace wanted to launch the Robocar at this year’s Formula E season. Two prototypes were entered at Buenos earlier in the year, but one of them crashed.
Now the plan is to enter five teams and race two Robocars at a Formula E race in July – each Robocar will be mechanically identical, but teams will be able to program their own self-driving software to gain an advantage. There’s no denying the Robocar looks incredible, but would you want to watch a racing series with fully autonomous cars?