Automotive

320 km/h, no driver: Roborace reveals the Robocar

320 km/h, no driver: Roborace ...
The new Roborace Robocar
The new Roborace Robocar
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The Robocar at its launch in Barcelona
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The Robocar at its launch in Barcelona
The initial sketches of the Robocar
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The initial sketches of the Robocar
The Robocar is a smart piece of aerodynamic design
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The Robocar is a smart piece of aerodynamic design
The Robocar will hit 320 km/h
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The Robocar will hit 320 km/h
The Robocar is designed by a famous sci-fi designer
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The Robocar is designed by a famous sci-fi designer
Robocars will be controlled by a Nvidia AI brain
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Robocars will be controlled by a Nvidia AI brain
The Robocar was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
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The Robocar was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
The Robocar is festooned with sensors and cameras
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The Robocar is festooned with sensors and cameras
The new Roborace Robocar
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The new Roborace Robocar

With testing underway for the hotly-anticipated 2017 F1 season, you could be forgiven for forgetting about Roborace, the self-driving race series supporting Formula E. After a long gestation period, the as-yet unproven competition has finally revealed the car that teams will be programming, and it looks absolutely wild.

Designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist behind the light cycles in Tron Legacy, the Robocar is a seriously sophisticated beast. Hidden within its dog-bone-shaped body are four 300-kW (402 hp) electric motors, enough to propel the carbon fiber-heavy (and therefore light) body to over 320 km/h (199 mph). It weighs just 975 kg (2,150 lb) and measures up at 4.8 meters (15.7 ft) long and 2 meters (6.6 ft) wide.

With no driver behind the wheel, there are plenty of sensors around the cars to stop them (hopefully) from bashing into each other. There are five LiDar, two radar, 18 ultrasonic and two optical speed sensors on the outside of the car, along with six cameras and a GNSS module. The whole array is powered by a Nvidia Drive PX2 brain, capable of dealing with up to 24 trillion AI operations every second. Each team will program the car with its own algorithm, making software the crucial differentiator in Roboraces.

Robocars will be controlled by a Nvidia AI brain
Robocars will be controlled by a Nvidia AI brain

Michelin will supply the tires for the car, using the sport as a test bed for its own next-generation rubber. The tires used on the Robocar will eventually find their way to the street, as the company looks to use racing experience to improve its consumer products.

"This is a huge moment for Roborace as we share the Robocar with the world and takeanother big step in advancing driverless electric technology," says Denis Sverdlov, RoboraceCEO. "I am so proud of the entire teamand our partners and particularly the work Daniel has done creating this beautiful machine. Itwas very important for us that we created an emotional connection to driverless cars andbring humans and robots closer together to define our future."

Roborace will be on show in Mexico City on April 1, but that won't be the first time the self-driving racers have taken to the track. Just last month, two DevBots took to the streets of Buenos Aires. A hard collision with the wall means one of the cars didn't make it back from the outing, but the test did prove driverless race cars are no longer a pipe dream.

One of the cars can be seen in the video below.

Source: Roborace

The car of the future has landed | Introducing Robocar

6 comments
Bob Flint
Should be a spectacular crash....when it hits an immovable object, if it gets up to speed, and they don't simply putter along and stall....
myale
So all we are testing is the software rather than if they can design better cars - would seem to limit what can be developed from this - surely giving free hand on electric motor tweaks etc would add in more excitement.
RobertMinter
Tech advances and benefits aside, who actually wants to watch or sponsor driverless racing? Scalextric without the controller, I can't think of anything more dull.
anobium
Why does the car need such huge holes, can't be for cooling surely? I realise that electric vehicles do need some cooling but never as much as an IC engine.
Mat fink
I agree with RobertMinter, maybe they can find drama is the face of the lead coder watching a computer screen full of numbers and risking biting his nails down to the quick. Or they could follow the life of a self learning car as it realises there is no reward for winning, just the threat of the OFF switch. If the cars had faces and could speak it might be worth watching to hear them complaining about the other cars or screaming before hitting a wall.
Sven Hackmann
It’s really great to see the vision of Alejandro Agag (CEO) of Formula E come together. Alejandro put FE on the map by hosting the race series within the heart of the world’s most iconic cities, thus exposing “next generation” sustainable transportation to the masses. From the beginning Alejandro recognized that FE offered a platform to collaborate with cities via the creation of municipal living labs. His vision always included AI, and I recall discussions about hosting a “Roborace” even prior to the launch of the very first FE race in Beijing. Very impressive!