Posted on March 11, 2017
Robocar Gears Up For a Turn on the Track
If you’ve seen Tron: Legacy, Oblivion or Captain America, you already know the work of automotive designer Daniel Simon. We’ve been excited about driverless cars for a while now, but is anyone out there ready for a driverless race car? Heck, yeah! Robocar, the world’s first electric racing car is headed straight for a track near you. Soon-ish. They’ve changed their game plan to have 20 Robocars on the race circuit in 2017. Maybe we'll distract ourselves while we wait by also obsessing over the Dodge Challenger Demon?
Some race fans might find themselves asking: Is it still a race if no drivers are involved? It’s all in the software, apparently. Race fans in Buenos Aires got an early look at the Robocar prototype, “The Devbot” at a recent Formula E track. While the proto has space for a human inside, the finalized design will be fully autonomous. Eventually, tracks will feature obstacles the cars have to navigate around, just to ramp up the challenge factor. Teams entering the Roborace will begin with the same hardware foundation, but can then add race muscle modifications through software. And as with so many innovations in the race world, the street-level auto industry stands to gain features for “regular” cars. Shelley, a modified Audi TT tested recently, hit speeds of 120 mph around a northern California track, pushing its suspension and tires to the limit on a few trial runs.
The Robocar is a beauty to look at, with a sleek carbon-fiber bod that weighs in at 2149 pounds. Finalized details on the drivetrain were not yet available, but according to insiders, it will most definitely be electric. It’s said to be able to achieve speeds of up to 199 mph. As with any self-driving car, sensors have a powerful role to play, and the Robocar includes six cameras, two radars and five lidars. Without a driver taking up precious room in the car, who knows what designers will come up with as they put the finishing touches on the Robocar? We just hope Toronto and Mississauga feel the need to build a track for E-Racing very soon so we see these hot racers in person.
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