Are Autonomous Cars Coming to a Racetrack Near You?

autonomous cars

It’s an exciting time to be part of the auto industry as autonomous cars are increasingly making their way out of the “what if” conversation to the “it’s happening” conversation. There is even talk of a new sport involving self-driving cars and they’re calling it Roborace.

Roborace is the company behind Robocar, a self-driving, electric car. Roborace advanced their technology while developing their first car, Devbot. Devbot’s primary purpose was to allow the team to fine-tune software being used in Robocar. Devbot has a cabin that allows it to take human passengers to analyze data in real time. Robocar does not have a cabin.

Robocar has design elements similar to what you see in the movies “Tron,” “Captain America” and “Oblivion.” The company hopes to bring the car to electric driverless events at Formula E circuits around the world. The developers know that the best racecar drivers use tire friction to make amazing maneuvers, pushing the car to its limits. Robocar developers are looking into how to do the same thing, not only to go faster, but for safety as well.

Autonomous cars, also called driverless cars, have been in development in one form or another since the 1920s, but the first truly autonomous vehicle wasn’t developed until the 1980s. In fact, it was Carnegie Mellon University’s NavLab and ALV projects in the mid-1980s. Mercedes Benz also partnered with a German university to develop an autonomous car in 1987.

However, the process hit a milestone in 1995 when Carnegie Mellon’s NavLab 5 completed a long-distance drive from Pittsburg to San Diego with an average speed of 63.8 miles per hour.

The main benefit of autonomous cars is that human error is eliminated and traffic collisions could be reduced. However, the biggest obstacles surrounding the technology include liability disputes and technical challenges.

There is also the resistance of drivers who don’t want to give up control of their ability to drive the vehicle. Furthermore, there is also an entire industry of people who drive for a living, which means they are less likely to warm up to the idea of autonomous cars.

As for the Roborace plan, it appears that the developers believe the faster sensors and AI algorithms they’ve developed for racing will find their way into consumer and commercial vehicles.

Is your dealership ready for a self-driving car evolution? The transition will likely occur slowly, but it may be time to think about the role of your dealership in this new age of automobile technology.


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