BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The racing world is going to get a lot more interesting starting next year. After the tragic events that transpired in the previous years on Formula One race tracks, a new series of races was started, Formula E. The championship features electric cars, and the first iteration was in the 2014-15 season.
Kinetik, a technology company based in UK, is going to sponsor Roborace, a series of robot races to take place alongside Formula E in the 2016-2017 season. The series is meant to have the robots race each other at crazy speeds, and also to test the limits of the artificial intelligences employed in the endeavor.
Another purpose for the race is to ease public opinion on driverless cars. As autonomous cars are beginning to be developed more and more, public opinion is still skeptical regarding our potential future chauffeurs. The race series is meant to prove that if the AIs employed in the race can perform exceptionally well during extreme conditions, there should be no problems during regular day to day driving.
Denis Sverdlov, executive chief of the Kinetik company, likes to think that if this Formula E and Roborace seasons are successful, there would be no reason for the future not to provide AI vs. human races. The executive chief would love to see humans racing robots, however other racing enthusiasts are skeptical that it could be anything more than a dream.
Canadian race car driver Ross Bentley is skeptical regarding a future in which robots would go head to head against humans on the race track. He admits that from a technological point of view, the idea is amazing; however he claims that it would be dramatically less entertaining for spectators.
He claims that for races, the most important part is the driver. Even though Michael Schumacher was objectively the best Formula 1 driver, he still didn’t manage to win every race. Bentley claims that watching two robots going around the track, competing against each other would be boring, and that he would rather watch the programmers write the codes for the two AIs competitively.
Whether the man vs. machine races will happen is still up for debate, but for now we’ll have next year’s Formula E tournament, where we will get to watch two robots going head to head on a race track. We’ll just have to see if that is still fun after the novelty has worn off.
Image source: geograph.org.uk