Formula E Announces Driverless Racing Series

Autonomous cars will compete with software. Are you entertained?

I must be Nostradamus over here, because Formula E just announced Roborace, the first driverless racing series pitting autonomous cars head-to-head. I suggested precisely this in  my first article about the coming Autonomotive Singularity. I’m absolutely convinced this is the future. Maybe not the only future for racing, but something that will evolve to become a significant part of it. Why?

If you’ve seen the movie Real Steel, you have a pretty good idea where this is going. Battlebots laid the groundwork. The evolution of drone warfare set the stage for remote, semi-autonomous and/or fully autonomous robots. Racing is an obvious evolution, whether on the ground, at sea or in the air.

Roborace will be the warm-up class before each Formula E competition. And like Formula E, which pits two electric cars per driver in each race, Roborace teams will each field two cars per competition. So that’s ten teams, each with two driverless cars, in one-hour races over the full championship season. The cars will be identical, but the teams will compete using their own computing algorithms and Artificial Intelligence technologies.

I’m very excited to see how this plays out. I will be at the first Roborace, and look forward to it.

Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog and Editor-at-Large for The Drive. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.