The FIA Formula E Series and Kinetik announced a partnership on Friday that is set to see the first autonomous motor racing series begin in 2016.
The new series, brilliantly called ROBORACE, will follow the all-electric FIA Formula E series during the 2016-2017 season.
But why are they doing it?
“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,” said Denis Sverdlov, Founder of Kinetik and ROBORACE. “ROBORACE is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far. It’s a global platform to show that robotic technologies and AI can co-exist with us in real life. Thus, anyone who is at the edge of this transformation now has a platform to show the advantages of their driverless solutions and this shall push the development of the technology.”
Each one-hour-long ROBORACE will be held ahead of each Formula E race, with 20 cars in total competing.
The cars will be fielded from 10 different teams, which will provide two cars apiece.
However, the catch is that every car on the grid will be identical.
Whether a team wins or loses the race will be determined by its real-time computing algorithms and AI technologies.
None of the teams or technologies have been announced yet, but one of the teams will be organized as a crowd-sourced community team, as ROBORACE aims to prove that the minds as well as the technology are out there to successfully hold a high-pressure contest amongst autonomous vehicles.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Kinetik on what is surely one of the most cutting-edge sporting events in history,” said Alegandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. “ROBORACE is an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world. It is very exciting to create a platform for them to showcase what they are capable of and I believe there is great potential for us to unearth the next big idea through the unique crowd-sourced contest.”