Autonomous F1 racing

I am reading the autobiography ‘How to build a car’ by the designer Adrian Newey. Quite absorbing and fast-paced, and mid-sized at about 400 pages.

Although it’s common knowledge, I’m only now really grasping how much of a role tech plays in today’s races, compared to the driver, who are the ones idolised.

It made me wonder if autonomous car racing is a thing yet. It’d be the ultimate engineering sport – the existing hardware and software of F1 with the new hardware of cameras/sensors and software of AI.

Turns out there is Roborace, which uses a standardised car and sensors across teams, and so the differentiator is only the algorithms. They’re organising races across Europe and the US this year. And there is F1Tenth, which uses scale cars, where both hardware and software differs between teams.

It’s going to be a while before they even get to Formala E levels of popularity, forget Formula 1, but it’s inevitable, and it’s going to be a lot of fun from an engineering standpoint.