product design



Client: Roborace  |   Time:  2016 – current   |   Credit: Chief Design Officer


Robocar is a fully autonomous racing car, and the halo machine of Roboracethe first global autonomous racing car series. Daniel is Chief Design Officer at Roborace, and responsible for the concept and design of all their competition vehicles.

Roborace was founded in 2016, and operates today offices in London, Heyford, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The company believes in a future of autonomous carsand strives to create a competition allowing different AIs (artificial intelligence) to compete in even cars, to emphasis on a ‘competition of intelligence’, filtering out as many vehicle dynamic variables as possible between the teams.

Events are held on existing race tracks, air fields, or closed-off public roads. Roborace currently operates two different vehicles: Robocar and DevBot 2.0. While Robocar is exclusively operated by Roborace itself and reserved for halo showcases such as record runs and public demonstrations, the more durable DevBot 2.0 is used for the official team competition. In the 2020 season beta, the teams are Autonomous Racing Graz, University of Pisa, Carnegie-Mellon University, SIT Autonomous, and Arrival Racing.



Roborace founder Denis Sverdlov hired Daniel as Chief Design Officer ( CDO ) in January 2016. He was tasked immediately with creating a functional and iconic vehicle, which would be both an ambassador for the visionary ideas of Roborace, and a practical development car for the ultimately envisioned racing series.

Unusual for a racing car, the design process did not have to follow a regulation. The development could therefore include an emotional element, to create a machine that allows the public to get interested and excited about the rather new and challenging idea of autonomous racing.

Engaging specialists in race engineering, battery systems, and aerodynamics, the car was conceived from the beginning as a tightly packaged best-case-scenario, and does not offer any space for a human. The shapes create an enormous amount of downforce while maintaining low drag, and all sensors are seamlessly integrated. Robocar debuted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 2017, only 12 months after the first sketch.



4 electric motors are powered by a 540 kWh battery. The sensor array includes 5 lidars, 2 radars, 15 ultrasonics, and 6 cameras. The official technology partners are Nvidia who provides the PX2 brain, and Michelin, who provides the tires. In March of 2019, Robocar set a Guinness World Record for the fastest autonomous car, at 282 km/h.

Length: 4814 mm  |   Width:  2008 mm   |   Height: 1011 mm

” In Roborace’s vision of the future, the software is the star, but car designer Daniel Simon gets the Oscar for supporting actor. “



” Life imitating art… imitating life. Or something like that. This is Daniel Simon’s ‘Roborace’ autonomous racing car, and it is quite simply, one of the best things we’ve ever seen. “

Top Gear

” Simon’s Robocar is a striking, stripped back piece of elemental design, shorn of the need for a human-machine interface. “



” The result is automotive design reduced to its purest form, where the often mercurial and sentimental tendencies of the race car driver have been eliminated entirely. “



” It looks like something straight out of a sci-fi film — and that’s probably because this new driverless car has been designed by the man who brought us the vehicles in the movie TRON: Legacy. “


” Motorsport will always be about who is the best driver but the technology has to evolve so that’s why we created Roborace — not to compete against normal drivers but to go beyond where motorsport can go. “

Lucas di Grassi, CEO Roborace


” Our 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. “

Daniel Simon, Chief Design Officer Roborace



The Robocar is being continuously tested and developed in the UK. It had a first public track outing during the Formula E-Prix in Paris 2016, during which it performed a single low speed lap. It has been on public display worldwide, such as in London, New York, Frankfurt, Munich, Monaco, Detroit, and Las Vegas. To engage the public in the progress, Roborace showcases the so called DevBot during each Formula E event on track. It is a demonstration car which shares many components with the Robocar, but is built on an LMP2 chassis which allows a development driver to be on board.