Autonomous Racing: Would You Watch a Race Series without Drivers?
In addition to making the cars faster, one of the great pursuits in auto racing is making the cars safer for drivers. We’ve made many strides in this respect but there will always be the chance of injury or even death. The only way to truly guarantee the driver’s safety is to remove him or her from the car completely, and that is exactly what one race series plans to do. It is called ROBORACE, and is being planned in support of the Formula E electric racecar series. The eventual goal will be to have a driverless race before each Formula E race in coming years. RELATED: Google's Autonomous Cars Programed to Speed According to Top Gear plan is to have ten teams each run two driverless cars. Some would argue that, like F1, these races would then be won and lost in the pits, but race organizers believe it would make for an amusing sight for fans.
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More importantly, it represents a huge potential for automakers in the process of developing their own driverless cars. Engines, tires, brakes, aerodynamics, and safety gear are just a few of the areas where the daily driver has benefited from racing. Through the years, endurance races like LeMans have provided countless breakthroughs in these various automotive fields. With the advent of autonomous technology, such a race series could be huge for automakers looking to bring their driverless cars to market in the next several years.
So it is clearly an important race for automakers. It will be interesting to see which companies get involved. Audi and Lexus have both been big on autonomous tech, but then there are companies like Tesla and Google that are also developing their own driverless cars and have obviously never been tied to racing.
But would you watch a driverless race featuring electric formula cars? Tell us in the comments below.
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