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Roborace makes history with first driverless car demonstration on the streets of Paris

Posted: 22 May 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Formula E (the E is for Electric) driving team Roborace has made history by becoming the first company to unleash a fully driverless motor vehicle on the streets of Paris.

The company, set up in 2013 by former politician and assistant to the Spanish Prime, Minister Alejandro Agag, demonstrated its self-driving vehicle ‘Robocar’ in front of gathered crowds at Les Invalides, ahead of the Formula E, Eprix race in the French Capital on Saturday (May 20).

The Robocar “wowed” fans, by showcasing its autonomous capabilities, which included the car negotiating its way around 14 turns of the 1.9km circuit without a human in the vehicle entirely self-driven by autonomous software.

“We are extremely proud and excited to see the Robocar perform this demonstration in front of all the fans in Paris,”  said Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov. “It is another major milestone on this incredible journey.

Hard work pays off

The team has worked so hard to get us to this point in a short amount of time, the car is alive and it has emotion and its own personality already.  Roborace is the only company in the world right now testing driverless technologies on city streets without a human in the car – this is something truly unique.”

The Robocar is designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist who creates vehicles for Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters including Tron Legacy and Oblivion,  It weighs 1000kg and measures 4.8m long and 2m wide.  It has 4 motors of 300kW each, a 540kW battery and is capable of speeds over 200mph.

Under the hood

The car uses a number of technologies to ‘drive’ itself including 5 lidars, 2 radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, 2 optical speed sensors, 6 AI cameras, GNSS positioning and is powered by Nvidia’s Drive PX2 brain, capable of up to 24 trillion A.I. operations per second to be programmed by teams’ software engineers using complex algorithms.

At the car’s unveiling in Barcelona in February, Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon said “This needs to be the superhero of self-driving cars.  An ambassador for this amazing rise of artificial intelligence.”

Roborace’s open A.I. platform allows companies to develop their own driverless software and push the limits in an extreme and safe environment.  The series is designed to be a competition of intelligence so all teams will use the same “Robocar” to ensure all efforts will be focused on advancing the software for everyday road cars to adopt.

Roborace will continue to perform demonstrations at Formula E events during the remainder of the season, which includes; Berlin, New York and Montreal.

For more information on Roborace, Formula E and how racing is helping drive advancements in driverless vehicles forward, please click here.

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