Driverless electric racer completes successful track test in Marrakech, Morocco.
Planned Roborace series will see autonomous cars compete at Formula E ePrix weekends.
It is a car kitted out with technology its developers boldly predict will transform our cities and change the way we live. The autonomous “DevBot #1” took a giant leap forward in Morocco recently, making its debut on a street track at the Formula E Marrakech ePrix. The battery-powered prototype is being tested for Roborace – a proposed race series where driverless cars compete on temporary city circuits.
“It’s the first time we’ve run the Devbot in driverless mode on a Formula E track in the middle of a city street,” Roborace’s Justin Cooke told CNN. It’s so exciting for the team who put hours and hours of work in. These guys were up to 1-2 a.m. in the morning, developing a technology that no one else in the world can do at this speed and in these complicated environments.
Using a variety of sensors – including GPS, radar, and ultrasonics – allied to sophisticated computer programs, the car learns how to navigate a track at speed, avoiding all obstacles. What we are doing is at the forefront of technology right now,” says Cooke, who is also CMO of Kinetik – an investment company founded by Russian businessman Denis Sverdlov which is providing financial backing for the project. “There are two or three kinds of space races if you will – some people are going to Mars, we’re developing robotic cars, and I think it’s probably one of the most, if not the most exciting space in the world right now.
After the successful 30-minute test in Marrakech – this year’s host city for the United Nations climate change conference (COP22) – Cooke says the company will next try racing two cars together on track with the eventual aim of having up to 10 cars competing at every Formula E ePrix weekend.