Believe it or not, autonomous race cars will soon be battling it out on the track. As we reported last year, plans are for the Roborace autonomous racing series to run in conjunction with Formula E, starting in the 2016-17 season. Last week, newly-appointed design chief Daniel Simon, who has a diverse background designing concept cars for both global automakers and Hollywood, released the first look at the driverless Roborace car.

“We’re living in a time where the once-separated worlds of the automobile and artificial intelligence collide with unstoppable force,” says Simon. “My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. 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.”

Similar to how Formula E started with each team competing in the same Spark-Renault SRT_01E, Roborace will be a single-model race with every team running the Robocar. The competitive aspect will come from each team tweaking the software algorithms and AI technologies to gain the advantage on the track.

“I passionately believe that the future of cars is about software – driverless, electric and connected – and Roborace will help to make that a reality,” says Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov. “It’s gaming, motorsport, technology and entertainment all rolled into one.”

Competition based on algorithms and AI should make for some amazing competition – and no doubt some spectacular wrecks. Also very interesting to see a driverless race car – as is the case with aircraft not having to provide a secure compartment for the pilot opens up a lot of possibilities. Thing looks like the slot car of all my favorite childhood dreams. Vroom!



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