‘Cars’ Becomes Reality With A Self-Driving Race Car

Self-driving cars have largely been the provenance of ride-hailing companies and Google, not sports. But all that’s about to change with Roborace, the first self-driving race series. And, for that matter, with the robot car they’ve just debuted.

Called “Robocar,” and designed by Daniel Simon, who created the light cycles in Tron: Legacy, it’s a fascinating machine. For one thing, it’s short; barely two feet tall at its highest point. At about five meters long and two meters wide, it’s also a bit smaller than your typical racing vehicle, and at just over a ton, it’s a half-ton lighter than your average NASCAR racer. It can also hit a top speed just shy of 200 miles per hour.

That said, the racing series won’t be about who’s steering. The Verge notes the idea is that ten teams of engineers, with two cars apiece, will build robot racers and run them at high speeds around the track. That’ll put the focus on the physics and design of the competition. Also, there’s the appeal of watching a robot that costs millions smash itself to bits because Phil in coding forgot to remove the segfaults. That said, Roborace likely won’t be a full-fledged series until next year; currently they’re running exhibition races on Formula E, the International Automobile Federation’s electric car racing series.

(Via The Verge)