Artificial Intelligence on the race track

As robots and artificial intelligence are “conquering the world” with the idea of helping us in our daily routines and our job related activities, it is time for them to entertain us in a different way. Autonomous cars are to be brought in sooner than people expected. Early next year the Formula E Series will commence bringing these innovations on the track.

Daniel Simon, a German concept designer, author, producer, and senior designer at Bugatti and Volkswagen, developed the Roborace car which can be driven without a pilot. His concept is now to be brought on the racing track to test the power, stability, and control of these innovations.

The autonomous cars will be presented in the Formula E Series before the main races “driven” by 10 different teams competing for the best artificial intelligence.

As stated by its CEO, Nvidia is to be installed in all Roborace cars, so the difference will be seen in the best real-time algorithm and artificial intelligence technology that pilot the cars. Engineers will have to compete with their knowledge instead of their racing skills, keeping them on the safe side of the race, giving them freedom to push their cars at their maximum potential and be able to modify their power and appearance as they see fit without being afraid that a pilot could get hurt, which opens countless possibilities for development. Each team will be able to bring two cars in the race in order to prove themselves.

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The cars will drive by themselves and it is said that they can reach a speed of 300km/h which is dangerously fast even for an artificial intelligence-driven car. With this in mind, their AI's must keep the pace with their environments in order to take the right decision at the right time. As the AI should be the decisive factor in the race, their algorithm must match, if not surpass, the abilities of a human pilot, being able to withstand the heat of a race, calculate every object in the vicinity, and also being able to steer the right way while tailing or surpassing the other cars. This calls for some complex coding, several fast reading cameras installed on board, and some fine resisting hot technology, something that could bring a challenge to engineers and mechanics.