Roborace will be a motorsport championship with autonomously driving, electrically powered vehicles. The series has been testing their technology and race formats on the same tracks the FIA Formula E Championship uses. It will be the first global championship for autonomous cars. As of September 2017, the official CEO is 2016–17 Formula E champion, Lucas Di Grassi.
The world's first purpose-built race car, Robocar was designed by Daniel Simon, who previously worked on vehicles for movies such as Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, along with painting the 2011 HRT Formula One Car. Michelin is the official tyre supplier, and the internal computing processors (Drive PX 2) are Nvidia.
The chassis itself is shaped similar to a teardrop, improving aerodynamic efficiency. The Car weighs around 1350 kg and is 4.8m(~15.7ft) long and 2m(~6.6ft) wide. It has four electric motors, each with a power of 135 kW producing over 500 hp combined, and utilizes a 58 kWh battery. For navigation, it relies on a mixture of optical systems, radars, lidars and ultrasonic sensors. A small rear wing at the rear end of the car indicates one or more electric motors. The vehicle is expected to be capable of reaching top speeds of more than 300 km/h (190 mph).
Development of the Robocar started in early 2016, with a first outing of a test vehicle, the so-called "DevBot," following in the summer of the same year. The test car consisted of the same internal units (battery, motor, electronics) used in the Robocar, but were placed in the chassis of a Ginetta LMP3 car without an engine cover in order to provide better cooling.
DevBot saw its first public outing at the Formula E pre-season tests in Donington Park in August 2016. After battery issues in Hong Kong caused the development team to abandon their demonstration run, the DevBot successfully drove twelve laps around the Moulay El Hassan Formula E circuit in Marrakesh.
During testing ahead of the 2017 Buenos Aires ePrix, two DevBot cars raced against each other autonomously, resulting in one of the vehicles crashing on a corner. Other test tracks included Michelin's testing ground in Ladoux and the Silverstone Stowe Circuit.
Further test runs are planned for the following Formula E events.
At the moment, it is not known which teams will join the series. At least one of the ten squads, however, is set to be a "Crowd Sourced Community" team, backed by private investors and open for AI developers from around the globe.
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