Electric Cars

No driver required: Here's your first look at Roborace's self-driving Robocar

Maybe they can put one in Formula 1 and finally put a stop to Lewis Hamilton.

Roborace

Approximately 14 months after it was initially announced, Roborace has finally unveiled the Robocar, the first driverless electric race car.

Roborace promises to be the first entirely autonomous racing series, and the Robocar will be the car that its teams will field. The Robocar has been teased in the past, but this is its final form, unveiled today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Robocar is positively loaded with tech. Each of its four electric motors puts out about 400 horsepower, its battery capacity is 540 kWh and it will be capable of speeds over 200 mph. It will drive itself using five lidar emitters, two radar emitters, 18 ultrasonic sensors, six cameras and two optical speed sensors. Nvidia's Drive PX2 computer will be responsible for crunching all that data.

Thankfully, it isn't capable of taking over humanity.

Roborace

Despite all those components, the car weighs just 2,150 pounds, which is less than a 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Sounds like every car will be the same, right? They will be, sort of. Roborace will provide the cars themselves, but it will be up to each individual team to provide the software that will get the cars around the track. Roborace will establish an open AI platform, off which those teams will build that software. As you can see, there's no space for a driver -- if the software doesn't work, the car won't compete.

"Roborace opens a new dimension where motorsport as we know it meets the unstoppable rise of artificial intelligence," said Daniel Simon, Roborace's chief design officer. "We take special pride in revealing a functional machine that stays true to the initial concept shared, a rarity in automotive design and a testament of our determination. It's a great feeling to set this free."

Originally announced in December 2015, Roborace moved quickly, showing off its DevBot prototype last August. The final product stays true to its concept, with a positively futuristic style that looks like part Formula 1, and part "Minority Report." Roborace hopes to get off the ground this year.