Let’s go back in time, when movies back in the 1980s depicted flying cars and hover boards being the norm in the future. It always seemed like a dream then, but at the time you probably didn’t know autonomous cars were already in development ever since the ’50s. Even most of the older generation didn’t know about it. Now fast forward to 2016 and you’ll see the autonomous car field making strides, with the focus shifting from casual “A to B” trips to motorsports.

Late last year, an autonomous race car series dubbed ‘Roborace’ was officially announced by Formula E, a joint venture with Kinetik. The rules are simple. Ten teams will have the same cars to compete, each with their own real time algorithm and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. The series will be held prior to each Formula E race around the globe, much like the GP2 races that take place before Formula One.

Image by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon / Roborace Ltd.

Image by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon / Roborace Ltd.

It wasn’t until a few days ago, images of Nvidia’s first Roborace car surfaced on the internet. The car resembled something out of a sci-fi flick and to some extent it is. The lead designer responsible for the design of the car is Daniel Simon, the man who designed the ‘Light Cycles’ for the movie Tron: Legacy. That being said, these cars aren’t just silly props. Simon’s worked closely with a team of engineers and aerodynamicists to produce aesthetically pleasing cars without compromising performance.

So will it be the future of motorsport? We feel it won’t be replacing today’s human-driven cars, since the concept of racing isn’t alike at many levels. Case in point, instead of having race car drivers competing with each other, fearlessly utilising every reflex they have pushing the car to its limits; we have a toy developed with no room for human error. Let’s be honest it’s just not as exciting to watch without the human element. But, only time will tell…

If you’re interested in watching ROBORACE, the season will start alongside Formula E around September of 2016 and 2017.


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