Roborace's New Cars Look Awesome and One Day They May Even Race by Themselves

Illustration for article titled Roboraces New Cars Look Awesome and One Day They May Even Race by Themselves
Image: Roborace

Roborace, the autonomous-vehicle racing series that’s seen years and plenty of ideas in the making, is finally here. Well, for the most part. It’s here with some great car liveries for its inaugural race season, but the lingering question is of how much we’ll actually get to see them race.

The series’ Twitter page, which has been a hype machine of vague posts about its inaugural “Season Alpha” since late last year, tweeted a photo of three cars lined up, each with their own fresh livery, on Monday. The tweet was captioned with “Our robots are ready to race!” and a Season Alpha hashtag, and they’re robots that would be great—at least, from a visual perspective—to watch.

Just look at them. They’re on the current iteration of the Devbot, which is Roborace’s development car with a human cockpit that the series will use for its first season, and they look great. (The “Robocar”is the goal, which resembles a futuristic dog bone and doesn’t have any place for a fallback human driver.)

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But how much we’ll actually get to see them race, in terms of traditional racing broadcasts and aside from edited videos from the series, isn’t clear.

Details around the first season are ambiguous, other than a promo video with Spain, Italy, the UK, Hungary and the United States listed as event locations, and, when asked about the start of the season on Twitter a few days ago, the Roborace account said there aren’t dates yet but that the series would have its “first Season Alpha event (behind closed doors) on Monday in Spain.” When asked if it would be streamed, the account said there would be live Instagram stories and videos posted after the fact.

Jalopnik asked Roborace if later events in the season will be publicized, or even live streamed, an a representative for the series said the “short answer is yes.” The series plans to do some public events this year, they said, and those will be announced “in the next month.”

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Until those public events, though, we’ll just have to settle for photos and clips of these sweet liveries, because that’s all we’ve got.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

awesomeaustinv
This is not my username

While these cars are cool, I fail to see how actual autonomous racing would be entertaining. I mean, there’s a certain thrill that comes with the idea of strapping yourself into a machine that was purpose-built to go fast and then pushing it to its limits in the pursuit of victory. Plus, there’s the fact that human drivers add an element of unpredictability that makes it even more exciting. Even when you’re just watching the event, it still captures the imagination. Autonomous racing seems to me like it would take away everything that makes racing exciting. I don’t think that autonomous racing will ever replace human-driven car racing. After all, motorsports didn’t replace runners. But I don’t understand why anyone would want to watch an autonomous race instead of one with human drivers.