The first official car of a new autonomous racing series series was recently debuted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. They’re calling it the “Robocar” and it definitely looks like something out of the future. The design of the Robocar was created by Daniel Simon, who is also known for creating vehicles for Hollywood films such as the Tron Lightcycle. The Robocar looks like a futuristic dogbone with wheels, and I’ll admit, it looks fast even at a standstill. Exact performance specs haven’t been released, but what we do know is that it will use a total of four electric motors with a 540kW battery pack. Even with the massive battery, and the rest of the electric drivetrain, the Robocar is estimated to weigh just 2,149lbs.

Photo: wired

You might expect that with all that power in such a lightweight vehicle, the speeds will be out of this world. But the estimated top speed is just 199mph. As a lifelong moto enthusiast, the only thing that would attract me to a driverless racing would be if the racecars are traveling at speeds way higher than what we see in other forms of racing. Which makes sense, because the engineer’s don’t have to be concerned about the safety of the driver, nor the other competitors. So hopefully we’ll see more advancement on this in the future.

It probably goes without saying, but he Robocar is jam packed with technology. It has a total of six AI cameras scattered throughout the car, two radar arrays, five LIDAR arrays, two optical speed sensors, 18 ultrasonic sensors, and a GNSS positioning system. All of which is controlled by a Nvidia Drive PX2 which acts as the brain of the entire car which is claimed to be able to process a full 360-degree view of the racecar’s surroundings. To give you an idea as to what kind of computing power that requires, the team’s engineers claim the car will be programmed to allow up to 24 trillion A.I. operations per second.

I’m all for the advancement of automotive technology, but only for the reason of making cars faster, better handling, more reliable, and overall to improve the driving experience. Not to remove the driver from the equation altogether.


Photos: wired