The Roborace Car Gets Near-Final Version, Looks Even Better

Robocar explained 1 photo
Photo: Roborace
The first sketches of the Roborace Robocar shown back in March revealed a very futuristic vehicle that took advantage of the fact it didn't have to accommodate a human driver and produced shapes that mere flesh and blood humans had never seen before.
It was all thanks to Daniel Simon, the German designer most famous for the Light Cycles in cult film TRON: Legacy, who was asked to lend his skills to the development of the series' autonomous racer. And just by looking at the result, it's hard to imagine there could have been a better choice.

Talking about his proposal, Simon said: “My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty. Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance." When the design was unveiled earlier this year, everyone was excited. Now, Roborace has shown what it calls a "production version" of the car and if anything, it looks even better.

It's 99 percent identical, but the angle the picture is taken from is different, making the racer seem wider, more athletic. The image also details where everything goes in the car, and there's plenty of arrows there to keep a tech-freak happy for minutes. The car is virtually padded with all kinds of sensors, which are probably needed to ensure the races won't turn into massive pile-ups.

The Robocar front and rear radars, side and rear LIDAR sensors, ultrasonic sensors, front cameras and another camera placed on a taller fin, where the 360-degrees TV camera also sits. If there's anything approaching it, this car will know it. Of course, the centerpiece of the car will be the Nvidia Drive PX 2 supercomputer. It has 12 CPU cores able to produce eight teraflops of computing power and 24 trillion operations a second - let's just say that if Roborace fails, NASA will be glad to buy all this equipment.

Roborace is scheduled to start later this year, when the third season of Formula E begins as well. Not much is known about the competition apart from the fact that there will be ten teams with two cars each, all of them identical. However, the teams will be allowed (actually, make that "encouraged") to work as much as they can on the software controlling the vehicles, so this will essentially be the first real-world AI contest.

That alone sounded pretty attractive, but when we also think about the racecar design and the way this competition is going to be broadcast (remember the 360-degrees cameras?), we're actually getting very excited about Roborace. A little bit scared about everything it stands for, but also excited.
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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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