Are racing car drivers an endangered species? If so, then Roborace could be the beginning of the end. Slated to kick off next year, this new racing championship will pit driverless electric cars against each other in a round-the-world series. The aim is to provide a competitive platform for the autonomous driving technology that is being developed by automotive and tech firms, as well as universities.
Roborace is being developed in a partnership between the electric racing series Formula E, which is currently in its second season, and investment firm Kinetik. It will form part of the support package for the Formula E Championship, with races taking place at the same circuits prior to each Formula E race.
Ten teams will compete in the Roborace championship, each with two driverless cars. The running of one team will be crowdsourced by a community of software and technology enthusiasts, and experts from around the world. All the teams will use the same car , but will be able to alter its software to gain a competitive advantage over the course of one-hour races.
Formula E says the aim of Roborace is to demonstrate the capabilities of autonomous driving technology, even in extreme conditions, while Kinetik's Denis Sverdlov says it will help to show that we can co-exist with such technologies. CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag describes the new series as "an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world."
The Roborace series is scheduled to debut in the 2016-17 season, with further details about its teams and technologies to be announced early next year.
Source: Formula E