Motorsport is more than just entertainment, it is a way for car manufacturers to show off the latest car technology on the track. And that may include self-driving features, if the Roborace championship is given the green light.
Created by designer Daniel Simon, who has previously worked for Bugatti and created vehicles for Hollywood movies, the championship would field ten teams that use the same self-driving car.
The objective of the race would be to customize the software onboard the car, making it in some way better than the opposing teams. Simon has dubbed it the “battle of algorithms,” which might draw in a different crowd than usual Formula 1 viewers.
“My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty,” said Simon to Motor Authority. “Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance — the Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment.”
Investment firm Kinetik is apparently in charge of the car development, who started talks with the event organizers of Formula E to add self-driving cars. An electric powertrain will be fitted inside the car, with a top speed of 190 mph.
A good testing ground for self-driving car manufacturers
No details were published on the organizers or manufacturers involved, but Simon wants the first Roborace to begin later this year to push the onset of self-driving cars for public use. If all goes to plan, it will support the Formula E Championship in the 2016/17 season.
Self-driving cars zooming around a track might not be the most exciting thing for the average car viewer, but for companies like Google, Tesla, and Ford, it is a good testing ground to see the software powering the car in action. In the early days, we might also see some catastrophic failures from manufacturers that lack the software expertise, which could make for good entertainment.