Last Friday (27), the FIA Formula E championship and the Kinetik company announced a partnership with the plan to create a new category with the purpose of being a support race of the Formula E schedule. Of course, it will feature electric cars, but the most surprising detail is that no driver will be inside them.
The new championship, called ROBORACE, is aimed to bring manufacturers and companies that develop or intend to develop autonomous cars to an extreme situation like competitive racing. Google has the closest scenario to what is intended to do in ROBORACE, as their autonomous cars cruise around the world collecting data for the various applications used by the company, but big manufacturers, like Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Volvo, Nissan, Toyota and many others are already working their ways into self-driving machinery.
The start of the ROBORACE championship is expected to occur in the third Formula E season, in 2016/2017, as every race will occur a few hours before the Formula E event, with ten team slots that will bring two cars to action, and one of these ten squads will have a crowdsourcing base. The current Formula E manufacturers are eligible to take part in ROBORACE, but not all of them have to do so. Kinetik enters in the show as the official car builder of the competition, while manufacturers just have to bring their AI systems and insert them into the cars. The races will last during a whole hour, and although there isn’t confirmation, battery development will make possible to these cars to last the full race without problems.
Be it an immediate success or a colossal fail, at least they’re trying it, and applause should go to the parts involved for the idea. AI systems are developing at high speeds lately in any ambient, and tests in extreme applicable conditions always prove if an idea can go ahead.
If you’re into simracing, you probably thought in the titles you play in single player mode. Think in the possibility of seeing this in real life action and you already got something to watch in ROBORACE. Maybe even some gaming companies may consider an entry by themselves or in joint efforts to test what they have in their hands.
PHOTO: FIA Formula E