It's rare that software engineers are lauded as the heroes of anything, but Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov wants to change that. Sverdlov, formerly CEO of Russian mobile operator Yota, set up Roborace last year with the goal of organizing street races that will pit self-driving cars against one another. "In the racing environment engineers are usually in the background. Here the software engineers are the heroes," he said at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday. Designing and building high-performance race cars is horrendously expensive, but Sverdlov wants Roborace to be an intellectual competition, not a financial one.
But while both firms will be hoping to take the'car of the future' title, that seemingly belongs to this beast of a vehicle from Roborace. Called Robocar, the racer was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, by Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Roborace and Charge, and Daniel Simon, the car's designer. Sverdlov emphasised that the development of autonomous racing vehicles was a way to create "an emotional connection to driverless cars and bring humans and robots closer together to define our future." Robocar was developed in a little under a year but has an array of impressive technological features that take advantage of the Nvidia's Drive PX2 brain - the open AI car computing platform capable of 24 trillion AI operations per second. The car is powered by five LiDAR sensors; 18 ultrasonic sensors; six AI cameras and GNSS positioning, and it reaches speeds of 199mph (320kph).
The lights dimmed and a hush fell over the crowd. The last hour had been building to this. Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Roborace, and Daniel Simon, chief design officer, took a step back as some knee-high panels were taken away and a silky cloth was lifted, revealing a mechanical monster underneath. More than a year after the project's announcement, the pair had finally revealed their first production-grade Robocar: a fully electric, driverless race car built from the ground up for a new breed of motorsport. One where the heroes are programmers, concocting the smartest and most competitive AI drivers.
Last weekend was supposed to be Roborace's big moment. The driverless car championship, which has been under development for about year, was slated to make its first public demonstration in Hong Kong during the season opener of Formula E, an all-electric urban racing series. It's what makes the successes so glorious, and the setbacks so frustrating. Roborace is documenting all of it--the good and the bad--in a docu-series that aims to capture the process of creating the world's first artificial intelligence, driverless electric racing series. The first episode was released Friday.
It's a stunning demonstration of what self driving car can (and can't) do. This incredible footage shows Devbot, an autonomous racing car being developed to star in its own AI race series, hurtling around the streets of Rome with no driver at the wheel. It goes head to head with pro-drifter Ryan Tuerck on the closed road circuit, which was later used for the Formula E Rome race - and fails to beat the human driver. Now you see it... pro-drifter Ryan Tuerck (pictured) competed against the Roborace Devbot car's AI - driving the car himself before leaving the car to it Now you see it... pro-drifter Ryan Tuerck (right) competed against the Roborace Devbot car which can also drive itself (left) The Devbot electric car used in the race can be piloted by a human or by AI. The all-electric DevBot weighs about 2,200 pounds, and boasts 550 horsepower.