LONDON: The first designs of the Roborace autonomous electric race car was revealed today – and it’s a futuristic creation that is unlike anything ever seen on a race track before.
The design is the work of the newly-appointed Roborace chief design officer Daniel Simon, who has earned some of his design chops from working with Volkswagen and Bugatti in the past.
Simon, who is renowned for his work on Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters such as Tron: Legacy, Prometheus and Oblivion, set out to create something that took full advantage of being the first-ever racing car that doesn’t need to accommodate a driver.
“My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty,” he said. “Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance. The Roborace is as much about competition as it is entertainment. Therefore – and quite unusual in today’s racing world – beauty was very high on our agenda and we work hard to merge the best performance with stunning styling.
To produce high downforce with minimal parts, Simon used the floor as the main aerodynamic device. “We are developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”
The new racing series is organised by Formula E as a support series that would start before the main event. A London-based company called Kinetik will make the cars, which are all the same except for their own real-time computing algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The car is said to be able to achieve a top speed of over 300kph.
No specific date was given for the first Roborace but a press statement said it would take place during the 2016/17 Formula E season. The next round of the Formula E race begins in Long Beach, California on April 2.
The Roborace championship, which will see 10 teams duke it out for AI supremacy, will provide a competitive platform for autonomous driving that are now being developed by many large industrial automotive and technology players as well as top tech universities.
“This first image of the Robocar, designed by Daniel Simon, represents a vision of what cars will be, a vision of our future,” said Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag.
“In Formula E, we are proud to promote, together with pioneers like Denis Sverdlov and Daniel Simon, a revolution in the world of motorsport, a project that will change the future of mobility”.