Roboracing: What Automotive School Students Should Know About the FIA's New Driverless Car Series

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This year, racing fans will get to witness something they’ve never seen before: a motor series featuring driverless cars. Roborace will be part of Formula E (for electric), and will feature 10 teams of 2 cars each.
Without drivers controlling the cars, the real stars of Roborace will be the engineers that program their algorithms. In fact, the teams will all get the same self-driving car to race with. Rather than modifying the vehicle in any way, they’ll have to develop the software that controls it to get the edge they need to win.
If you want to pursue an automotive career, read on to learn more about Formula E, as well as Roboracing and what it could mean for the future of the industry.

A Brief History of Formula E for Students Pursuing an Auto Mechanic Career

Formula E is a class of automotive racing that uses only electric-powered cvehicles and is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
In the first official season that took place in 2014, all Formula E teams were supplied with an electric race car built by Spark Racing Technology. Students pursuing an auto mechanic career might like to know that the electric motor was developed by McLaren. It’s the same one the automaker uses on its P1 supercar. Since Formula E’s second season, the technical rules have been modified to allow powertrains from new manufacturers. A few notable names who built their own electric powertrain include Venturi Automobiles, Virgin Racing Engineering, and Renault Sport.
Roborace was conceptualized to be a support series for Formula E races, and the driverless events will most likely take place before Formula E championship races.

Students in Automotive School Might Recognize the Maker Behind the Robocar

In order to come up with a cutting-edge autonomous car design, Roboracing named Daniel Simon its chief design officer. Simon had a successful career working for Volkswagen, were he worked on some of its luxury vehicle brands including Audi, Bentley, and Bugatti. He then ventured out on his own over the last decade to do Formula One design work and to act as a consultant for Disney. Students pursuing auto mechanic training might be familiar with some of his work, which includes the vehicle design in the movies Captain America, Prometheus, and Tron Legacy.
There aren’t any details yet on just how fast the battery-powered Robocars will be, but prototype images reveal that the futuristic body design has enough aerodynamic styling to give the cars a lot of downforce. Simon states that:
“It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car to maintain a clean and iconic look. This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”
Get a sneak peek of the Robocar here:

What Roboracing Could Mean for Future Automotive Careers

One of the most exciting things about Roboracing is that it gives software developers a chance to put their work to the test in a competitive, entertaining way. With so much talk in the automotive world about autonomous driving, Roboracing also gives professionals in the industry a chance to witness new advancements in the technology, as engineers find new ways to program how vehicles will behave under different circumstances.

One day in the not-too-distant future, self-driving cars could become available to consumers and start hitting the roads and auto mechanic shops across the country. In the meantime, let’s hope that Roboracing becomes a great opportunity to build consumer confidence in the safety of autonomous vehicles.

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