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Roborace: Global Championship for Driverless Racing

“Global Championship of Intelligence.” Roborace founders believe that the future of cars is about software; driverless, electric, and connected. (Photo credit: Roborace)

Roborace is a new global motorsport championship that features driverless, electrically powered vehicles. This new championship will provide a competitive platform for the autonomous driving solutions that are now being developed by many large industrial, automotive, and technology players, as well as top universities. The series will be run as a support series during the FIA Formula E championship season. Roborace is the first global championship for driverless cars.

And what stunning cars they are!  Knowing the importance of technologically advanced design, Roboracer organizers chose wisely in meeting this ultimate challenge with their chief design officer, Daniel Simon. Simon is renowned for his work on Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters such as Tron: Legacy and OblivionThe first designs have been revealed and it’s a futuristic collection unlike anything ever seen on a race track before.

At the Roborace website, Simon states: “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.”

Chief design officer Daniel Simon is best known for his work on Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters such as Tron. (Photo: Roborace)

According to Simon, the Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment. Therefore, beauty was very high on the agenda,  merging the best performance with stunning styling. It was important to 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 the design team is currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.

In his recent interview at the Formula E website, 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 race is intended to take place during the 2016–17 Formula E season, on the same circuits as the main championship. Ten teams, each with two driverless cars, will compete in one-hour races over the full season. All teams will have the same cars, but will develop their own real-time computing algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies. All of the cars will be manufactured by a company called Kinetik, which announced that the cars would be capable of top speeds of more than 300 km/h (190 mph).