Roborace Shows Us A Glimpse Of The Future With Unveiling of DevBot Autonomous Race Car
Is Roborace the real future of motor racing?by Kirby Garlitos, on
It’s been said that Formula E is the future of motor racing, but it may turn out having a competitor in the form of Roborace, the world’s first race for autonomous race cars. The driverless racing series will serve as a supplemental support series for Formula E and is expected to make its debut in one of the races of that will make up the third season of Formula E. Ahead of that highly anticipated event – believe me, I’m hyped up just thinking about it – the team behind Roborace has unveiled an early stage race car prototype called DevBot.
Not much is known about DevBot at this point, but judging from a teaser video released by Roborace, the prototype racer is already capable of driving on a race track on its own. The car still has a seat and steering wheel, which presumably are being used for testing and development purposes. Eventually, the cars that will compete in Roborace, called Robocars, will be completely driverless.
In fact, all the teams in the series will be using identical cars, right down to the electric powertrains that are reportedly capable of hitting a top speed of 190 mph and the sensors that will be fitted into the cars. The biggest form of competition among participating teams will be which one could develop the best software to control the cars. It’s not unlike those races that kids have with their app-controlled race cars, except that the series will actually be using life-sized autonomous driving race cars that could develop into a major racing series in the future.
Series organizers have tapped Daniel Simon to be the chief design officer for the race car. A few design prototypes have been unveiled, including the DevBot, with an eye towards unveiling the final design before the end of the year. Production of the cars will be handled by the investment firm Kinetik.
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Why it matters
The unveiling of the DevBot autonomous race car is the next big step towards Roborace becoming an actual thing. Make no mistake, I’m excited to see this series get off the ground and become more than just a support series for Formula E. It still has a long way to go before it gets to that point, but if it does end up living up to the hype of being a completely driverless racing series, then sign me up as a fan. I’m completely on board with that idea!
The concept of the series is appealing for a variety of reasons, none more so than the fact that it effectively answers any concerns of driver safety in racing. Well, the answer is apparently simple. Eliminate the driver entirely and make it a series involving presumably high-priced autonomous race cars. I understand that racing purists will scoff at that idea, but I’m not championing for Roborace to be a thing because of that. I like the concept of the series on the condition that it serves as a complement to the more traditional forms of racing. I think the sport in general would be much better of if there are different kinds of racing for different kinds of race fans.