Created by famed concept car designer Daniel Simon

In late 2015, it was announced that a new racing series with autonomous cars will be launched in 2016. It will be called Roborace and will act as a support series for the all-electric Formula E championship. With the next Formula E season only six months away, more details about the series and the self-driving race car are now available.

Although actual specs of the vehicle are still under wraps, Roborace announced its chief design officer as Daniel Simon. Known for his work as a vehicle concept designer on Hollywood films "Tron: Legacy and Oblivion", as well as his popular "Cosmic Motors" book, Simon has also designed a number of road-going vehicles, race car liveries, and even motorcycles. Notable projects include several cars for Seat and Lamborghini under the supervision of Walter de Silva, the Bugatti Veyron Hermes, the Lotus C-01 motorcycle, and the liveries of the Lotus LMP2 and Hispania Racing F1 cars.

At Roborace, the 41-year-old was tasked with creating the all-electric car that will bring autonomous technology to the race track. Although the self-driving vehicle is still under development, Roborace has already published photos of the prototype. Not surprisingly, given Simon’s previous work, the Robocar looks as futuristic as they get. It mixes the familiar design of Formula E cars with a bit of the Chevrolet Chaparral 2X VGT concept, with some wild results. Devoid of a traditional cockpit, this thing looks like a rocket with fenders and wheels. It makes me wish current Formula One and Formula E single-seaters had a similar design.

The setup might change, however, as Roborace moves closer to its debut season. According to Simon, the cars will be modified to include active body parts that are "more organic and seamless than solutions today." Details are scant, but expect some groundbreaking technology to evolve from this. No info as to what will motivate the self-driving race car, but it could receive a drivetrain similar to that used in Formula E cars.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Meet "Robocar" - The First Concept Car For The Upcoming Roborace Series
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When I first heard of the Roborace series I didn’t expect a race car this futuristic, but a modified version of current Formula E designs. I’m glad I was wrong because it seems that Roborace and its collaboration with Daniel Simon could spawn a few revolutionary designs in terms of aerodynamics, as well as a new approach toward active body parts. Like any technology developed for the race track, it could be transferred to road-going cars almost immediately and the end result could mean faster and more efficient vehicles. Naturally, the Robocar’s real-time computing algorithms and artificial intelligence will also make production self-driving cars not only better performance-wise, but safer too. If autonomous race cars can be safe and avoid collisions at speeds of over 100 mph, road-legal models should have no problem keeping their passengers safe at significantly slower speeds. Sure, I still think that a racing series with no driver input won’t be all that fun to watch, but I can’t ignore the fact that Roborace could have a big impact on the automotive industry in a couple of years.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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Press Release

Roborace today announced its chief design officer as Daniel Simon, a global force in futuristic, automotive design.

Renowned for his work on Hollywood sci-fi phenomena such as Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, Daniel has previously been senior designer at Bugatti and later went on to design everything from drones, motorcycles, spaceships and Le Mans cars throughout his adventurous career.

Daniel has been working with racing engineers relentlessly on the Robocar and shares a first look at the concept today.

Daniel Simon, chief design officer at Robocar, said: “We’re living in a time where the once separated worlds of the automobile and artificial intelligence collide with unstoppable force. It’s fantastic to be part of this journey; it triggers all my big passions - motor racing, design and advanced technologies. My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance. 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. It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car to maintain a clean and iconic look. This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today. I am excited to be part of the daring team of people who are making this happen.”

Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Roborace, said: “We are honoured to have Daniel working with us on this project as chief design officer. His passion and experience are undeniable and I believe it’s already set to be one of the most iconic vehicles in automotive history. We nicknamed the competition the ‘global championship of intelligence’ as an open challenge to the world’s smartest minds, so its only fitting that the car should be one of the smartest ever to be made, thanks to Daniel it may also be the most beautiful car ever to touch a road surface. It’s gaming, motorsport, technology and entertainment all rolled into one. I passionately believe that the future of cars is about software; driverless, electric and connected and Roborace will help to make that a reality.”

The first Roborace ‘shows’ will take place during the 2016/2017 Formula E season with disruptive and innovative new formats showcasing safety and extreme driving capabilities.

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