Wednesday, December 9, 2015


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.


  1. I believe that there is a strong possibility that by 2020 autonomous cars will become a common place. The only obstacles that I find with autonomous cars is their reaction time to quickly changing environments and circumstances. For example, your CAR is driving YOU home, and it starts to thunderstorm on the way. All human drivers know by instinct to slow down and to adjust to the conditions of the road, but how will a car with an AI based off of algorithms know how to do this? And if scientist and car makers are able to somehow input this information into the car, would it be good enough to bet your life on it? I feel like the idea of autonomous cars is great for many situations in driving, but I believe that the best driving experience would come from a mixture of manual and automatic driving. For example, autonomous driving on the highway might be a more efficient way to travel because highway driving is more predictable, and simple. If every car was on auto pilot on the highway, one wouldn't have to worry as much about crashing, but in cities and suburban areas where there are lot of cars and unpredictable behavior, manual driving might be more suitable. Overall I believe that in 10 years, all of us will experience in in one way or another, the effects of autonomous cars.

  2. The question everyone needs to ask themselves is this: can we put our lives in the hands of cars? I think that most people would not be comfortable with doing this. Another major setback that driverless cars have is the cost. It is one of the major reasons why a lot of hybrid and electric cars are not on the road today. In addition, car companies lose a ton of money each year by producing them. This could end up being the case if companies put a lot of money towards research and development only to get a fraction of the population to make a purchase. The question posed earlier would be the main reason for low sales. It is inevitable that there will be malfunctions of these cars or cars would be able to be hacked into. One accident would cause people to question the safety of these cars. I do not think that driverless cars will be on the road in 2020. Companies will continue to invest in their development but uncertainty in how they perform as well as how they will sell will keep them off the streets.


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