During Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, Roborace, a startup company devoted to creating autonomous vehicles, unveiled its Robocar, which is being called the world’s first self-driving electric racecar. The car has five light ranging and detecting radar sensors known as LiDAR (four on the front and one on the back), two radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, two optical speed sensors, six artificial intelligence cameras and satellite navigation.

“Roborace opens a new dimension where motorsport as we know it meets the unstoppable rise of artificial intelligence,” said Roborace chief design officer Daniel Simon. “We take special pride in revealing a functional machine that stays true to the initial concept shared, a rarity in automotive design and a testament of our determination. It’s a great feeling to set this free.”

The Robocar is powered by four motors weighing 154 pounds with 300 kilowatts of power each, and a 540-kilowatt battery to its all-wheel drive while racing. Thanks to its frame, which is comprised primarily of carbon fiber composites, the Robocar weighs only 2,150 pounds and can reach a top speed of 200 mph. Roborace received composite expertise to build the car from UK-based Lentus Composites, which has experience manufacturing for Formula 1 racing applications.

Roborace’s CEO, Denis Sverdlov, is also the CEO of a company called Charge, which in November unveiled a self-driving delivery van also made with composites. His goal is to show that autonomous driving technology is not only cool, but feasible.

“Roborace will help people to accept robots on the road,” said Sverdlov. “The purpose of the Roborace is to embrace it, to show it will work perfectly.”

The Robocar will be used in Roborace’s fully self-driving competitions, with two cars expected to compete head-to-head later this year. To see the Robocar being built, check out the video below:

  • It’s really great to see the vision of Alejandro Agag (CEO) of Formula E come together.
    Alejandro put FE on the map by hosting the race series within the heart of the world’s most iconic cities, thus exposing “next generation” sustainable transportation to the masses. From the beginning Alejandro recognized that FE offered a platform to collaborate with cities via the creation of municipal living labs. His vision always included AI, and I recall discussions about hosting a “Roborace” even prior to the launch of the very first FE race in Beijing. Very impressive!

    Sven Hackmann