The race car pushing driverless technology


Handing over control to a computer is a scary prospect for most drivers — three-quarters of Americans feel uneasy about riding in an autonomous car, a recent survey found — but the creators of the Roborace car hope to change minds as well as turn a few heads.
“Roborace is not a car, Roborace is a platform to promote autonomous technologies,” says reigning Formula E champion and new Roborace CEO, Lucas di Grassi.

“We need, within motorsport, a car to showcase this technology and at the same time educate the public to trust this technology.”

A prototype car, the ” Devbot,” made its track debut at a Formula E race weekend last November in Marrakesh while the first version of the Roborace car got its first track outing at the Paris ePrix in May.

Organizers say they will “develop a flexible format for the competition” for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

The electric car’s chassis was designed by Daniel Simon, creator of vehicles for movies including “Tron: Legacy,” and houses a complex suite of sensing equipment including cameras, radars and LIDAR.

“With Roborace we want to put these technologies in a closed environment and go beyond where motorsport can go,” di Grassi said.

“Motorsport will always be about who is the best driver but the technology has to evolve so that’s why we created Roborace — not to compete against normal drivers but to create another branch of motorsport.”

The fourth season of the Formula E Championship gets underway in Hong Kong on December 2.



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