Racing car championships are an established sport with a really huge base of fans and followers. The organisers have to take very innovative and forward-moving steps to keep the sport’s spirit alive among the fans. With driverless cars coming to the fore, it was only a matter of time until a proving ground was created. Thanks to Kinetik and Formula E, Roborace, a driverless racing car championship is set to launch in 2016. Here is everything you need to know about the Autonomous Racing Car series:
Kinetik and Formula E Announce Roborace
Things began in November of 2015 when Kinetik and Formula E announced a race championship for driverless electric cars. The historic announcement meant this was set to be the first ever car racing series involving completely autonomous vehicles.
Kinetik is a Venture Capital company that invests in and delivers technologies that are geared to change everyday life. Peaking in a press release giving the announcement, Denis Sverdlov, Founder of Kinetik and ROBORACE, said:
“We passionately believe that, in the future, all of the world’s vehicles will be assisted by AI and powered by electricity, thus improving the environment and road safety. ROBORACE is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far. It’s a global platform to show that robotic technologies and AI can co-exist with us in real life. Thus, anyone who is at the edge of this transformation now has a platform to show the advantages of their driverless solutions and this shall push the development of the technology.”
Roborace races will take place on Formula E circuits as the 3 year-old Electric car championship takes its competition across the globe. Roboraces will be held before each main event as a curtain-raiser on the Formula E race programme. The first race is planned to be held during the 2016-2017 season.
By creating the autonomous racing car championship, Roborace’s mission is to show the future of both automotive and IT industry is already here and possible.
The driverless car championships tie-in with the now-established Formula E championship for electric cars is a perfect fit. – Just as Formula E is seen by the automotive industry as a proving ground for electric cars, Roborace will look to do the same for driverless cars.
Roborace Concept Car Unveiled
In early 2016, Kinetic then unveiled the first images of its concept car to be used in the racing championship. The Roborace car is designed by Daniel Simon and he is the one who gave the car its unique yet functional look. Simon is well known for iconic movie concept vehicles in films such as Tron.
Initially, there seems to be a total of ten Roborace teams that will compete against each other in the driverless car championship.Each team will be able to enter two autonomous racing cars. The Roborace schedule should correspond with the Formula E calendar once the championship is confirmed.
All the teams will have use the same cars made by the same company, but the real-time computing algorithms and the artificial technology will be developed by the teams for their respective cars. This essentially will be the major deciding factor between Roborace teams during races.
Consequently, this is where Kinetik comes into the picture. Kinetik is the company that is behind manufacturing the driverless cars for all the teams. The vehicle will be capable of touching a max speed of 300 km/h.
As with Formula E, besides professional drivers, many enthusiastic software and technology experts will be able to take part in Roborace. This will be possible because one of the teams will have crowdsourced community of team members.
In addition, Charge, the automotive startup founded by Kinetik, will be the official truck partner of the Formula E Championship for the upcoming season. The company is going to fulfil all of the automotive requirements of the race championship.
Roborace Car and Tech Revealed
The championship had already released an image of the concept version of their Roborace race car in August and it looked outrageous. But a new image took it a step further by showing all the features of the car in full detail.
The detailed image serves as a guide for fans so they can really understand everything that goes into the futuristic-looking car. As a result, what the image above shows is an impressive amalgamation of auto design and technology.
As mentioned above, the Roborace car is packed with every piece of tech that might be available on the planet. The race car is covered with a large number of antennas, radars and sensors to keep it running while being controlled from a distance. The impressive machine also has a number of radar sensors and lidar that have been placed all around the body.
All Set For a Driverless Future?
Besides this, the Roborace car also has two units of navigation systems on the top, which will help in accurately identifying its position. Alongside front AI cameras, the car has a little tower that houses a 360-degree TV camera, AI cameras and status lights.
Above all, the car will come powered by a really fast computer. To be exact, the beast we are talking about is the NVidia Drive PX 2. It is capable of doing 24 trillion calculations/operations every second with its 12 cores and computing power of eight teraflops.
The Roborace race car is so powerful that it also has dedicated cooling vents to keep the processor cool and keep it running at full speed. With so much tech involved, this driverless car race is going to test the engineering skills of the teams instead of their driving skills.
As the Roborace Championship gets underway and develops, we here at ROBORACE HQ will keep you updated with all the latest news and updates, so stay tuned in!