Roborace unleashes ‘DevBot,’ a prototype autonomous race car

Roborace is moving closer to the goal of autonomous race cars with the release of its first development vehicle.

Known as the “DevBot,” the car doesn’t look anything like renderings released by Roborace earlier this year, but it does pack the hardware and software the nascent race series plans to use on its actual cars. The final designs for those cars will be unveiled later this year, series organizers say.

Read more: Roborace will use Nvidia’s Drive PX 2

Unlike the final product, the DevBot has space for a human driver. Roborace says this is to allow teams to “fully understand how the car thinks and feels on a racetrack alongside the comprehensive real-time data.” It’s probably a good idea to have a human onboard anyway, in case the DevBot decides to go all Skynet on innocent bystanders.

Roborace says it has been testing the fully custom development vehicle for about nine months on airfields and racetracks, including the famous Silverstone circuit in England, home of the Formula One British Grand Prix. Teams will be able to use the car to experiment with different setups before entering a pre-qualifying process for the series, which begins next month.

Roborace is an offshoot of Formula E, which features electric cars driven the old fashioned way, by humans. The plan is for Roborace events to run in tandem with Formula E, serving as a sort of warmup to the main Formula E races. The use of “support series” like this isn’t uncommon in other forms of racing, but Roborace will be the first to use self-driving cars.

The DevBot will be shown to the public for the first time August 24 during the Formula E open practice sessions at the Donington, England circuit. The first Roboraces will take place during the upcoming Formula E season, which kicks off in Hong Kong October 9.

Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…
Cars

Audi’s self-driving car unit teams up with Luminar to go driverless in 2021

Audi's self-driving car unit has teamed up with Luminar to develop and test autonomous technology. Luminar provides its lidar technology, which sees farther than the sensors offered by rivals, while Audi brings its own software.
Cars

Land Rover’s upcoming high-tech Defender will leave last-gen model in the dust

Land Rover is giving the Defender a full reboot. The original SUV was a rugged machine built to go anywhere. Its replacement will tick those boxes, too, but it will add a dose of technology and luxury.