How long do we have to wait until driverless race cars are a reality? Not too long, as these futuristic autonomous driverless machines are coming – and they’re coming quick!
Designed by Daniel Simon, who created many lit sci-fi cars for Hollywood, it’s called the Robocar. It is the world’s first driverless race car and is set to compete against other Robocars in an all-electric racing series taking place next to the Formula E championship.
The cabin-free, high-downforce racer comes equipped with some very clever tech and makes the new generation of Formula One cars look like massive fails!
Weighing just 975kg, the carbon fibre prototype is 4.8 metres long and 2 metres wide – not too crazy. The crazy part comes in the form of the four electric motors (300kW each) and a 540kW battery that creates enough buzz to get the Robocar to 320 km/h while running on Michelin road tyres. Maybe it’s safer that no one is on board driving!
While normally the smarts of a race car come from the fleshy human controlling the madness onboard, here the ‘brain’ is the Nvidia Drive PX2, a digital ‘engine’ capable of up to 24 trillion artificial intelligence operations per second! Working in sync with five light detectors, two radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, two optical speed sensors, and six AI cameras, the PX2 helps the Robocars from smashing into each other – or the spectators!
All races will last about an hour and will have ten teams running two cars each. The competition element comes from the Robo teams programming their cars with different software to ‘drive’ differently and make them the quickest on track day!
Bringing robots and humans together for racing could be sci-fi good or Terminator bad. We love watching humans burning rubber to rubber, but seeing these machines programming the hell out of each other on the track would be cool – as long as they don’t short circuit and chase us!