Formula E CEO: Motorsport Essential For Electric And Autonomous Vehicles

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Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says motorsport will help make driverless cars safe as Roborace shows off world’s first AI-powered racecar

For Agag, this will be demonstrable progress of electric cars and on a high profile stage.

“For all those challenges, technology is the only way. The technology community has a huge responsibility to find solutions.”

MWC 2017 Formula E (1)

Autonomous vehicles

Connected and autonomous vehicles are seen as the next phase of development and Agag is adamant that a competitive environment will act as a catalyst because it will help solve some of the key issues.

“Racing will have a great role in the driverless revolution,” he said. “We are so convinced of the incredible potential of robot race. Imagine two robot race cars racing side by side full speed going into the corner. Who stops first? In human drivers it’s simple: the driver with greater talent. With AI it’s safety. Safety is the single biggest factor for connected cars.

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“Robot races can have a huge impact on connected car safety.”

To this end Formula E is working with Roborace, a proposed driverless racing series that organisers believe will not only accelerate development but also provide entertainment – while at the same time convince people of the benefits of robotics.

MWC 2017 Formula E (5)

Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov said racing could help AIs learn to deal with extreme weather conditions and overcome obstacles. And, because the teams would be dealing with identical hardware, it would be about who is the better programmer – not who has the most money.

“These championships are a fair competition,” he argued.  “It’s not about budget, it’s about talent.

“It’s the software engineers who are heroes.”

At the event, Sverdlov unveiled the world’s first AI racing car, designed by Daniel Simon, who worked on the Tron films. It is capable of more than 320kph and can process 24 trillion operations a second.

“It is the ultimate platform for testing,” he added. “Virtual things are coming to life.”

The car will appear at some Formula E events this year and hopes to be an “ambassador” for AI.

“The technology community has a huge responsibility to find solutions,” concluded Agag.

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