Highlights of the story
Driverless electric racer successfully completes track test in Marrakesh, Morocco
The planned Roborace series will see autonomous cars compete on Formula E ePrix weekends
It’s a car equipped with technology that its developers boldly predict will transform our cities and change the way we live.
The autonomous “DevBot #1” took a big leap forward in Morocco recently, making its debut on a street track at the Formula E ePrix in Marrakech.
The battery-powered prototype is being tested for Roborace, a proposed racing series where driverless cars will 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 very exciting for the team that puts in hours and hours of work. These guys were up until 1-2 in the morning developing technology that no one else in the world is able to do at this speed and in these complicated environments.”
Read: Electric racing car shows a driverless future
Using a variety of sensors, including GPS, radar and ultrasound, allied with sophisticated computer programs, the car learns to navigate a track at speed while avoiding all obstacles.
“What we’re doing is at the forefront of technology right now,” says Cooke, who is also CMO of Kinetik, an investment firm founded by Russian businessman Denis Sverdlov that is financially backing 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 spaces in the world right now.”
Following the success of the 30-minute test in Marrakesh, this year’s host city for the United Nations climate change conference (COP22), Cooke says the company will try to race two cars together on track with the ultimate goal of having up to 10 cars racing on the track. every Formula E ePrix weekend.
“Being here at COP22 as we celebrate an electric future, a driverless future, is the perfect time for Roborace,” enthuses Cooke.
Visit cnn.com/motorsport for more Formula E news and features
“More than anything, we want people to be excited about technology because it’s going to change our lives, it’s going to transform our cities.”