WIRED MAGAZINE: Roborace, the global motorsports series, created by UK VC fund Kinetik, is set to launch next year as part of Formula E, the all-electric racing series now in its second season. Roborace, which just unveiled the design for its race cars, is meant to promote autonomous driving and offer software developers a high-profile, competitive venue for honing their work.
The teams will share hardware—everyone gets the same car—but develop their own software. After all, that’s the stuff that matters when it comes to navigating a crowded track at speeds nearing 200 mph.
The car is the work of Daniel Simon, a designer who started a conventional career at Volkswagen’s empire, working for Audi, Bentley, and Bugatti. He’s spent the past decade doing his own thing, styling liveries for Formula One cars and working as a consultant folks for like Disney. If you’ve seen his work, it’s likely in a movie theater: Simon created vehicles for films like Prometheus, Captain America, and Tron Legacy.
It’s a fitting CV for a job that involves self-driving race cars. Automakers have started to address the idea of how taking the wheel from humans might change how cars are built, but this takes the extra step of taking the human out of the picture altogether. It’s a very cool-looking future.
Robocar Concept I: First Media Release
Robocar Concept I Nvidia: Launch Livery
TOP GEAR MAGAZINE: The dramatic bodywork shouldn’t be too much of surprise given that the Chief Design Officer is Daniel Simon, a man whose past includes the creation of the futuristic vehicles in the Hollywood blockbuster Tron: Legacy. “My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty,” said Simon. “Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance. “It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car,” he continued. “This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”
Robocar Concept II: Tech overview, Aero Development Stage II
THE VERGE MAGAZINE: The autonomous race cars in the upcoming Roborace driverless racing series will use Nvidia’s Drive PX 2 supercomputer as a brain. The PX 2, which was announced back at CES in January, uses 12 CPU cores to produce eight teraflops of computing power and 24 trillion operations a second. It can combine information from a wide array of sensors, including radar, LIDAR, cameras, GPS, and high-definition maps. Roughly translated, that means it’s a very, very smart car. Driving on a known entity like a race track should make things a little easier for the car, but since they’ll be trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible — 20 cars will compete in a one-hour race — it’s not nearly as simple as driving down the highway. Nvidia has been aggressively developing its autonomous driving tech and its CES keynote this year focused heavily on the topic. Getting involved with Roborace serves up a great publicity platform for the company, and operating in a controlled environment like a race track could act as a strong development testbed for the Drive PX 2.”
Robocar Concept III: Aero Development Stage III, Michelin Partnership Livery
Robocar Concept III: Aero Development Stage III, Michelin Partnership Livery. Close-up.
VIDEO This is a first animated look at the Roborace car, as published in March 2016.
VIDEO Announcement video of the Roborace – Michelin Tires collaboration.
VIDEO Inside Roborace – Episode 1
VIDEO Inside Roborace – Episode 2
VIDEO Inside Roborace – Episode 3
VIDEO Inside Roborace – Episode 4
Copyright © 2016 Daniel Simon / Roborace Ltd.