Roborace Has Cars Designed by the Man Who Drew the Tron: Legacy Light Cycles

Toron Light Cycle 1 photo
Photo: Brian Moran on Flickr
We probably shouldn’t, but we’re very excited about the prospect of Roborace. In case you haven’t heard of it yet, this is going to be the first driverless motorsport competition in the world, where teams will be competing against each other via the autonomous driving system installed in their cars.
It will probably be the single motorsport event where you won’t be rooting for anybody, as it’s hard to care for an AI. In time, though, who knows how our minds will evolve and we will end up screaming our lungs out encouraging one piece of software over another. Or maybe our support will find other ways of expressing itself so that it actually reaches its destination. You know, instead of yelling, we hit a “yell” button or something.

But the organizers are well aware of this risk of not engaging the audience on an emotional level, so they’re doing the best they can. For instance, they’ve decided that every car should have a name, which is a good idea since they will all look the same, bar for the livery. And they’ve also hired one of the greatest designers out there to come up with the vehicles’ look.

The man’s name is Daniel Simon, and among other things, he’s responsible for the design of the light cycles in the Science-Fiction movie Tron: Legacy, which should be enough to raise the interest in the competition substantially. What’s more, the fact that there is no driver, so the car doesn’t have to pivot around a space dedicated to a human being, means that designers and engineers will finally have the chance to work on making the perfect car in terms of weight distribution and aerodynamics.

The cars will also be shorter, so we really don’t know what to expect apart from something truly special. It will also be very interesting to see how competitive the software engineers will be able to make the AIs, and also how aggressive they will be allowed to get. Will we see crashes galore, or will all the cars come to a stop if one of them spins on the track? Given how important autonomous driving technology is for the industry at the moment, we’re very curious to see where this is going.

Roborace is organized by the same men behind Formula E, a championship with which it will have a lot in common. The cars will obviously have electric propulsion, and the races will take place on the same tracks as those in the Formula E. More info on the competition is expected to surface in the following month, with the first race reportedly happening sometime this fall.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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