Take A Look At The First Driverless Racecar

With more and more people being interested in driver-less technology it was only a matter of time before it went from the streets to the race track. Formula E have already announced their intention to start a driverless championship, but you can even get a glimpse at the designs behind the first driverless racecar.

Roborace, the world’s first driverless series, released renderings of what their first designs for what autonomous racing cars could look like, and they do not disappoint. Designed by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon, known for his work on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, the designs look perfect for a vehicle that no longer has to worry about their driver, offering people the chance to enjoy great looking vehicles doing insane speeds around a track.

While we still have to wait till 2017 before we get to enjoy the series featuring all-electric cars, just seeing the first design reminds us of its potential.

With a trailer to go alongside the design rendering, when will we get to see the next design? With the ability for anyone in the automated vehicle business to take part in the championship, we could soon see designs from big names in both technology and cars manufacturing as they get ready to view and race their cars doing high-speed around tracks.

Formula E to Let Fans Experience Races in Virtual Reality

Starting with the next race at Long Beach, Formula E will be offering computer generated recreations of its races that fans will be able to watch from right in the action thanks to virtual reality. This is just a prelude to an even more exciting prospect too, with the sport aiming to allow races to be watched in real time through VR, which could happen sooner than we think, with it planned to be in place before the conclusion of the Formula E second season in July.

In these virtual reality experiences, watchers will be able to be a part of the action from the perspective of any of the 18 drivers or from a number of locations around the virtual track. They will also be free to explore a virtual paddock and freely view any of the courses, like a virtual circuit walk. Audio from the races will also be included in the experience and, for this season, at least, will be entirely free of charge.

The data in order to make these experiences comes thanks to a partnership with San Francisco-based company Virtually Live, who employ a number of physical trackers and advanced image recognition software in order to map the race recreation on a computer generated representation of the circuit. Virtually Live told The Verge that they had been privately testing live broadcasting since December in Uruguay, with them estimating that these real-time streams could be available as soon as the Paris race on April 23rd.

For now, the race simulations will be available in the days after the race itself through the Oculus, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR stores, although those using more budget mobile VR solutions such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard will be out of luck due to the limitations of their platform.

Technologies like VR are changing the way we may watch sports in future. A number of competitions already offer live streams complete with real-time metrics online, with Formula E itself having free live streams of its races available including 360-degree video replays. With racing series like Formula 1 cracking down on the number of ways that fans can watch the sport, the increasing availability of Formula E could just let its popularity grow even further.

Formula E ‘Virtual Championship’ to Take Place on Forza 6

Not content in running only in the real world, Formula E, the racing series for specially designed electric cars, will be running a ‘virtual championship’ that will take the form of a month-long eSports tournament on the popular racing sim, Forza Motorsport 6. The event will begin next weekend and take place across four rounds, with the ending set to coincide with the end of Formula E’s second real-life season. The prize up for grabs will be a share of a pot of €15,000, awarded as part of the final weekend of the series’ season.

Formula E’s cars were already added to Forza 6 last year, shortly before the game’s release and have already gathered popularity due to a number of Formula E events that have been held in the game over the length of the season. These “Race Off” events took place in real life, inviting gamers, YouTube personalities and even the real world Formula E drivers together to face off against each other in the game.

Unlike those events, the new “Pro Series” will take place entirely virtually, with each round providing competitors with a week to run time trials using the Formula E cars. After the event starts on the 24th, players will be able to join a special rivals event from the in-game Xbox Live lobby and compete for the best laps. When the first round ends on March 31st, those with the 10 best laps will be chosen to participate in a virtual final on April 2nd. This format will repeat 3 more times, with the last round ending on June 2nd. The top 2 from each round’s final will then be invited to London to go head to head with each other for a share of the €15,000.

It is exciting to see Formula E becoming so invested in engaging in the virtual as well as the real and makes many of the more traditional racing series look even more outdated by comparison. With AI racing already in the works and now a virtual racing championship, what exciting new ideas will Formula E come up with next?

Jaguar to Join Formula E in 2016

Formula E is very much the up-and-coming motorsport. It may never be able to steal the spotlight from its petrol-powered big brother, Formula 1, but it’s certainly drawing attention in recent times. Firstly  with its announcement two weeks back that it was planning a driver-less “Roborace” championship for self-driving cars, but now famous luxury car manufacturer, Jaguar, are getting in on the action with a plan to join the championship next season.

Many key automotive manufacturers already have some involvement in the motorsport, entering partnerships with existing Formula E teams to provide them with electric power units and other components. Jaguar’s entry into the sport has been made possible due to the exit of the Trulli Formula E team following disappointing results in their first two seasons.

In order to make their entry into the sport, Jaguar is partnering with Williams Advanced Engineering (who are related to the Williams F1 team). The two companies have shown greatness together before, collaborating on Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar and with Williams’ experience in the sport, as the battery provider for all the cars on the field, the result could be spectacular.

This could be a kick-off event for Jaguar to develop electric road cars too, with Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering director, Nick Rogers going on record stating that “Jaguar Land Rover’s made no secret about the fact that we will make electric vehicles.” “Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies,” said Rogers.

It is definitely a very exciting time for both motorsport and car enthusiasts. Many purists may believe that the petrol engine is the only way, but only time will tell what exciting racing Jaguar could bring to Formula E, and how they will pair their great sport and luxury cars with the modern electric engine for the road.

Image credit to Jaguar Land Rover

Formula E Announces Driverless Championship

Formula E has become quite popular since its 2014 debut season and renowned for incredible racing which is all too often absent from modern Formula One. The field contains electric high-powered vehicles and provides an insight into the future of motorsport. The organization is also preparing for a new series involving driverless cars tackling the world’s toughest circuits at breakneck speeds. Formula E’s chief executive Alejandro Agag said:

“Roborace is an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world,”

Furthermore, a financial backer of the project, Denis Sverdlov described the announcement with a great deal of enthusiasm:

“We passionately believe that, in the future, all of the world’s vehicles will be assisted by AI and powered by electricity, thus improving the environment and road safety.”

“Roborace is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far.”

Vehicle technology is progressing at such a rapid pace and it will be fascinating to see how AI drivers compete in a world championship event. Additionally, removing the human element and danger allows the cars to progress around corners at greater speeds. I cannot wait to see the championship unfold and uncertain how the series is going to be conducted in terms of TV coverage.

Would you feel comfortable in an automated vehicle?

Virgin’s Richard Branson Hints at Tesla Rival

Richard Branson is a man who loves having his fingers in as many pies as possible, and it seems he’s pushing his thumb into the pastry of electric cars, suggesting that his company Virgin may soon be competing with Elon Musk’s Tesla electric car manufacturer.

Branson, in an interview with Bloomberg, said that his Virgin racing outfit has “teams of people working on electric cars,” and that, “you never know—you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens.”

Virgin Racing Engineering is already working on a new electric vehicle platform which it intends to enter in Formula E, the new electric car racing league. Virgin will be joining the roster of ten teams next season.

Source: TechCrunch

London Circuit for Formula E Electric Car Racing Revealed

The London race track circuit for the first Formula E racing season has been unveiled. The final rounds of the electric motor racing series will take place in London on 27th and 28th June. The 3km route has 15 corners, running through the Battersea Park region of South London.

Driver Sam Bird, part of the Virgin Racing Team, was impressed, saying the track has, “fast straights, high-speed bends, as well as some challenging chicanes and braking zones.” Bird added, “The track is in the beautiful Battersea Park, right next to the River Thames, just across from Chelsea and with some of the most famous features of London’s skyline in the background. I think the London ePrix spectators will be treated to some close, fast racing with plenty of action and overtaking.”

The FIA Formula E Championship started in September 2014 in China, and the season will take drivers to such far-flung countries as Argentina, Monaco and Germany.

The CEO of Formula E, Alejandro Agag, said,  “Having two races in London – the final two of the season – was an option we discussed at length with Wandsworth Council and means that London could well be where the inaugural champion is crowned, making it a fantastic spectacle for the city and a great platform to showcase sustainable mobility and clean energy.”

“We will now begin preparations for bringing urban electric racing to London but of course that means working closely with all parties and local residents’ groups to ensure that we remain sympathetic to all park users.”

Source: BBC

Two Years of Planning, but Formula E Cars Are Finally Ready to Race

Remember the fully electric Formula E cars which we reported on a few months back? Well they’re finally built and ready to race! It has taken two years to create Formula E, which now includes ten teams, ten city-street circuits and its own championship. Aside from a few public demos, there hasn’t been much advancement for Forumula E, but now that the official Formula E operational headquarters and team facilities are in place at Donington, electric powered motorsports is one step closer to seeing the chequered flag.

The teams will be racing the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, which is lavished in carbon fiber and is certainly not to be confused with the the kind of electric road cars you might see driving around town. Styled much like a Formula 1 car, the Formula E vehicles are sleek and aggressive looking.

“It’s not just about racing, but the development of new technology that’ll filter down to road vehicles,” said Formula E Championship CEs Alejandro Agag, when speaking of the 200kW motor that powers each of the identical Spark-Renault SRT_01E’s. There is little room for modification this year, but the plan is to then open up the development side and push each time to innovate with what they have, much in the same way you see teams improving their Formula 1 cars each season.

The first race takes place in Beijing in September, where the teams will be hoping to attract fans, sponsorships and general interest all round. The hope is that the sport will be exciting enough to watch, while also providing the sponsorship to accelerate R&D within the electric vehicle space.

“We need to find new ways, either with more efficient batteries, or with other devices like supercapacitors and fuel cells. We need to find a solution for that. That’s why we’re doing Formula E.” said Agag.

Excited? I know I am, 2014 is certainly going to be an interesting year for the electric car.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Engadget.

Electric Powered Formula E Race Car Takes Its First Test Laps

Electric cars are quickly becoming the next big thing and while they have been on the roads for a few years now, either in the form of rechargeable cars or hybrid engines, there is little to be said for them being exciting. Sure, there are things like the Tesla Roadster but the humble electric motor has yet to cause a spark in the world of Motorsports, until now.

Most of the innovations in our road cars came from some kind of Motorsport, it is where innovations are made and having a true racing series for purely electric powered vehicles is what we need to improve their performance, efficiency and public opinion.

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E teams will be racing next year at the La Ferte Gaucher track in France, the first test laps were completed by a full electric powered car. It sounds very different when compared to the Formula 1 cars it is based on, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t offer up some serious performance in the near future.

Packing a 50kW battery in the test car and a mere 25% of the final race-ready cars it still looks like a lot of fun . If this is just a taste of things to come then I can’t wait to see the full line up on the track with all the settings dialled up to 11.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/dqIsFbdLJ7k[/youtube]

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.