Driverless racing cars are making it on to the circuits
The recent Formula E round in Marrakech, Morocco, staged the debut of something that, depending on your point of view, may either be the future of racing or its death knell.
Devbot#1, the prototype electric car for the proposed driverless Roborace series, lapped for 30 minutes without incident during a demonstration run.
The development plan will next put two cars on track, gradually building to a full field with the production Roborace car (Devbot#1 can also be driven by a human driver) in action.
“At some point we’re going to be having a conversation about driverless cars,” says Formula E analyst Marc Priestley. “The road car industry is undoubtedly heading in that direction and so it’s something we can’t avoid discussing in racing. It’s a strange concept because there’s a personal attachment to drivers; they are the component we get behind and support in motorsport – but at the same time the technology, I think, is fascinating.
“As we learn and develop the algorithms that run driverless cars, they will completely transform the motor industry and probably our daily lives. Being able to witness things like this on the track makes it a very exciting time to be involved in motorsport. We really are shaping the future – and I don’t feel that racing has been able to say that for quite a few years.”