Roborace is the emerging subset of electronic car racing that uses artificial intelligence autopilot to competitively race the cars. This exciting new event will debut “as a support race to the headlining Formula E races during the 2016-17 season. The all-electric, driverless cars will compete in hour-long races that are aimed at accelerating the development of autonomous tech algorithms and artificial intelligence technology” (Jaynes, Mashable). By promoting this new Roborace campaign the forerunners of the auto industry are getting a new opportunity to fine tune their auto piloting technology in a racing environment. These upcoming Roboraces are “a great place to experiment and showcase new ideas and bring them to the attention of the world in a controlled environment where people can gain confidence that they are safe” (Jaynes, Mashable). Once the general public feels confident that auto piloted cars are competent safe drivers they might welcome the new technology with open arms.
The future seems to hold an increasing number of electric vehicles, this coupled with cars developing self awareness gives rise to the possible trend of self driving cars becoming a reality soon. The potential of driverless cars whizzing down the highway may seem far fetched at this point in time but theoretically self driving cars may become common place by 2020. So far companies like Tesla, Audi and Porsche have begun to release cars with autopilot capability and pending further approval these models will be available worldwide. While I do not think automated cars will completely take over driving anytime soon, the rapidly developing technology thanks to events like Roborace will help this new platform reach wide consumer acceptance. The boss of Team Aguri Formula E, Mark Preston, said that the new races “give carmakers a chance to invest in autonomous tech research and development while also reaping the benefits of publicity and eye-catching headlines” (Jaynes, Mashable). This ideal situation of companies being rewarded with brand notoriety in exchange for technology research and development in a prototyping environment gives the chance for this technology to possibly reach consumers in just a few years. I do hope to see an lower cost easily accessible autopilot equipped car will come to the greater customer market within a few years as this would be the biggest jump forward in the auto market since Henry Ford’s assembly line.