Self-steering cars to race
Electric races to be proving ground for robots
Founder of Kinetik and Roborace
‘The mission of Roborace is to demonstrate that the future of automotive and information technology is already here and can even work in extreme conditions.’
THE 60 drifters and spinners who will wow the crowd at Masons’s Mill with their precision car control on Sunday, all wonder what is the point of the new championship series for driverless electric cars.
Called Roborace, the series will join the Formula E series and was announced for Kinetik this week.
Denis Sverdlov, Founder of Kinetik and Roborace, explained the series will provide a competitive platform to test the autonomous driving solutions that are now being developed by many large industrial automotive and technology players as well as top tech universities.
Svedlov said the plan is to run a Roborace before each of the FIA Formula E Championship races, with the first race intended to take place next year.
Ten teams, each with two driverless cars, will compete in onehour races over the full championship season.
Because its is not the car, but real-time computing algorithms and AI technologies that are being put to the test, all the teams will have the same cars equipped with their different soft- and hardware.
“The mission of Roborace is to demonstrate that the future of automotive and information technology is already here and can even work in extreme conditions, said Svedlov.
“Roborace believes that there is a lot of independent talents in the world that might contribute to this initiative.
“That is why one of the race teams will be organised as a crowd-sourced community team open for enthusiastic software and technology experts all over the world.
Further support for both Formula E and Roborace shall come from Charge, an automotive start-up founded by Kinetik that develops revolutionary range-extended electric powertrains for commercial vehicles.
Charge will become Official Truck Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship and will provide electric trucks for the drivers’ parade, towing trucks for emergency recovery of the racing cars and shuttles for transportation of guests and visitors of the championship around the eVillage.
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said in a statement: “We are very excited to be partnering with Kinetik on what is surely one of the most cutting-edge sporting events in history.
“Roborace is an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world.
“It is very exciting to create a platform for them to showcase what they are capable of and I believe there is great potential for us to unearth the next big idea through the unique crowdsourced contest.”
Further details and announcements about the teams and technologies to be used will be made early next year.
It is not only on track that electric cars are charging ahead. The fully electric Eco Powered 4x4 completed the Rally of Morocco in October and will be raced in the 9 000 km Dakar in January, with Argentinean Ariel Jaton and Spaniard Gaston Scazzuso piloting the car. Eight battery packs drive the motor and a roof of high-yield photovoltaic solar panels recharge the vehicle’s electronic components, navigation, lighting and communication systems. PHOTO: DAKAR.COM