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Formula E announces the world's first driverless car racing series

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Ten teams will compete before each race of the 2016-2017 season

Formula E, the global all-electric racing series, has partnered with a company called Kinetik to form the world's first driverless car racing series. The new support series, called Roborace, will run its races before scheduled Formula E races sometime during the third season.

Roborace will pit ten teams — each armed with two cars — against each other in hour-long races on the same street circuits that the Formula E cars compete on. Each one of the 20 autonomous electric cars will be the same as the next, so teams will have to focus on developing better algorithms and artificial intelligence to win. It's similar strategy to how Formula E teams were made to run the same cars in the electric series' debut season, which helped place an emphasis on the development of battery technology.

Ten teams, twenty cars, no drivers

One of the ten teams will be a "crowd-sourced community team," made up by "enthusiastic software and technology experts," according to Formula E. Beyond that, the series hasn't shared any other particular details about Roborace, its teams, or the cars, but a representative for Kinetik told Wired UK that the vehicles will have a top speed of more than 300 kilometers per hour (about 186 miles per hour). That would make them faster than the Formula E electric cars, which top out around 140 miles per hour. It also means that the Roborace cars would be the fastest autonomous cars on the planet, eclipsing Audi's self-driving RS7, which has a top speed of 149 miles per hour.

Roborace fills a gap left by the School Series, an electric kit car competition for kids that was run before a number of races in Formula E's first season. The School Series was dropped from the season two schedule shortly before the first race in Beijing, leaving room for a new support series like Roborace.


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