Roborace, the planned driverless racing series which will act as a support race for the all-electric Formula E championship, has been taking their fully autonomous Robocar to various tracks over the last year to showcase their technology. This weekend they’re at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England, which holds an annual hillclimb event with all sorts of interesting cars, old and new alike.
Roborace is an electric car racing series with a twist – there will be no drivers. It’s planned as a support race for Formula E, the all-electric racing series, where teams will compete primarily through software – writing autonomous driving programs and seeing which algorithms can race the best.
So far, though, the series is just in development mode, so there is only one “team” developing software for their DevBot development car, trying to see if this is even feasible, and occasionally doing fun stunts, like pitting man vs. machine as they did at the recent Rome race, to get people ready for the series.
Roborace, the autonomous race series hoping to debut soon as a support race for Formula E, took the opportunity at Formula E’s season opener to run their DevBots around the Hong Kong ePrix track to see how they would fare. They’ve done this before with varying degrees of success, but this time they added a new twist – they put Nicki Shields, Formula E’s pit lane reporter, into the car’s vestigial driver’s seat to see if she could do a faster lap than the computer.
Do we have to fear our robot overlords yet, or do we still have a few more software updates left between us and armageddon?
Two weekends ago at the Berlin ePrix, spectators got to see Roborace’s DevBot, the autonomous racing car prototype, do a full lap of the Formula E circuit at Tempelhof airport. We’ve seen a few short videos which we’ll link below, but today Roborace released the thing we’ve been waiting for: actual in-car footage of the full lap around the circuit.
In February, we brought you news of Roborace’s first self-driving car “race” at the Buenos Aires ePrix, using two of their “DevBot” development cars for the upcoming autonomous car racing series. But earlier today at the Paris ePrix, Roborace took their actual car, dubbed “Robocar,” onto a public track for the first time.
Previously, while Roborace has been testing the Robocar around a private test track, it has only demonstrated DevBots in public. The actual design of the Robocar which will be used for the series had only been shown at their unveiling event back in February, or parked in the paddock at last week’s Monaco ePrix. The main difference between the two is that DevBots are a stripped-down version of an LMP-style racecar, complete with a cockpit for a human driver for testing purposes. The Robocar however has no cockpit, and there is no place for a human driver to sit.
Roborace unveils the first all-electric self-driving racecar: ~200 mph (320 km/h) top speed with 4 300kW motors
In Barcelona today for the MWC 2017 Mobile Conference, Roborace unveiled the final version of its all-electric and self-driving racecar: robocar. It’s the vehicle that will be used for the self-driving racing championship that will take place before the ePrix of the Formula E later this season.
First self-driving car ‘race’ ends in a crash at the Buenos Aires Formula E ePrix; two cars enter, one car survives
Roborace, an electric driverless car racing series which is currently still in development, had their first “real” “race” today, driving two DevBots on the same street circuit at the Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix.
The two cars made their way around the track at a cautious yet respectable pace, with the “winner” reaching a top speed of 115 mph. Unfortunately, the losing car didn’t fare so well, getting itself into an accident and taking itself out of the race.
During the next Formula E season, there will be a self-driving car race before some of the upcoming ePrix races. The new championship is called Roborace. Teams of software engineers will compete on vehicles all equipped with the same hardware and the first working prototype, called ‘DevBot’, is now available for testing.