Formula E The End of the Racing Driver?

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
For the 2016/2017 Formula E season there will be series of support races, Roborace.



Roborace will feature driverless cars (pictured above) racing on the Formula E tracks against each other based on sensors & algorithms rather than instinct. No drivers in the garage remotely controlling these cars, it will be pure Artificial Intelligence monitored by a team of engineers.

All teams competing will use the same car design but their own algorithms.The Robocar is designed by Daniel Simon, alongside a team of engineers & aerodynamicists, whose (according to wikipedia) highlights include being a senior designer at Bugatti, designing the Light Cycle in Tron: Legacy & designing HRT's 2011 livery, though he probably left that last one off his CV.

Audi have already successfully tested their "Robby" RS7 driverless car (or piloted driver as they call it) at a number of tracks. From what I've seen of it's times it's faster than your average driver but the technology is still seconds behind a professional racing driver.

It's an interesting concept, raising the question as technology & AI gets better, would AI be faster than a racing driver? But whether Roborace actually becomes successful remains to be seen.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I see it as an interesting aspect which Formula E has brought in to show they are pushing new boundaries. I think as a spectator sport though it will lose the human interest. Most people cheer on and individual not a machine.

I think the idea that motorsport might evolved in the future to have cars circulating race tracks whilst being piloted remotely by drivers who are safely tucked away in a mock cockpit in the garage somewhere is a distinct possibility. Imagine the speeds and tracks they could race on if safety was not an issue.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
It will be interesting to watch, especially if they try and overtake one another as some of the main skills of a racing driver is finding a gap and selling other drivers a dummy. I will also add that although I find the tech in racing cars fascinating it's the drivers that I stay to watch.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Maybe the algorithms could include podium interviews, and they get extra points if they pass the Turing test...

From a technological point of view, this is right up there, and a great test bed for AI, and car related tech. As a sporting event, not so much, not gladiatorial, and not really relatable to the average "guy on the street" I mean, who would buy a computer game where you have to program a car to drive itself, rather than, well, drive the car.....
 

Titch

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Without even a seat for a passenger, they are a bit pointless. You can't even load them up with shopping and send them home having done a useful job.
The roads are clogged enough without filling them up with racing robocars.
:(
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Shogun I think it differs from person to person but I think just a simple look at the amount of Mclaren t-shirts in the crowd at the British GP in 2012, and then a look at the amount of Merc t-shirts in 2014 would show the vast everyday fan follows a personality.

Maybe the hardcore motor racing fan has loyalty to a team but I would not say they were the majority.

All PR has to put a human face on things so people tag on to stuff. Prime example is the 'Adrian Newey cars are always the best'. He doesn't build the on his own, he doesn't't even design them on his own but the media can't present a team of people so they use him as the figure head.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I think it's the lack of risk that makes a driverless series sterile. We like that gladiator spirit with a driver in the car putting his backside on the line.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Wish there was footage.

Also at the end of the article is says the winning Roborace car managed to avoid hitting a dog. No mention as to whether the dog had somehow got on the track or if it was sent out there deliberately to see if the skynet robocar cared enough to avoid it.
 
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