A self-driving electric racing car powered by artificial intelligence is unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Amy Pollock reports.
Racing cars of the future could look like this. Instead of someone behind the wheel, the Robocar has light and sound detecting sensors, artificial intelligence cameras and a global satellite navigation system. SOUNDBITE (English) ROBORACE DESIGNER, DANIEL SIMON, SAYING: "There's no human in there so we need eyes, ears and the big ones are the five lidars. What's important is they have to overlap in the view angles; there cannot be any blind spots, so this is very particular, how they are placed, which was stylistically rather challenging." They feed data into an open computing platform capable of 24 trillion artificial intelligence operations per second. The electric carbon fibre car is capable of exceeding speeds of 320 kilometres per hour, with its curves contributing to that. SOUNDBITE (English) ROBORACE DESIGNER, DANIEL SIMON, SAYING: "They are scary, they are fast, they are powerful. There is so much air pushing through here when it moves at speed, we need every little part to do aerodynamic work." Roborace, the company behind the car, provides the hardware to developers so their AI software can compete on the race track. The algorithms driving the Robocar could be useful off the race track too. SOUNDBITE (English) ROBORACE CEO, DENIS SVERDLOV, SAYING: "You need to be not only very fast, but you also need to be smart, so you need to avoid collisions. All the algorithms which will be created here for collision-avoidance in extreme conditions will be used in the road cars." Roborace has already showcased development cars on the Buenos Aires Formula E circuit. Next the team aims to have up to 10 driverless cars racing together alongside the Formula E races. The Robocar was launched at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.