Do autonomous cars have a place in racing?

Motor racing is a sport loved by car enthusiasts across the globe as it’s packed with speed and adrenaline for both the drivers and spectators. Compared to everyday road cars, those used on the track are designed to hit high speeds and manoeuvre around an array of bends and tight turns. Whether it’s driving at high speeds across the tough terrain of a rally track, or taking to a Formula 1 track, operating these types of vehicles takes skill and a large amount of concentration.   

Since the sport began, all we’ve known is the cars being driven by a racing professional; but what if this wasn’t the case? We’re often reading news stories where well-known car manufacturers are trialling autonomous vehicles, meaning the need for a driver is no longer needed. With the potential thought of autonomous vehicles making their way to our roads, could this mean we’re likely to see them on the race tracks as well? With the prospect of #AutonomousRacing vehicles being more likely than what we once imagined, LeaseCar UK have reimagined six cars from popular manufactures, so we can gage an idea of what they might look like as autonomous racing vehicles.

What would the noticeable differences be with an autonomous racing vehicle?

It’s pointing out the obvious but the most noticeable difference would be the absence of a driver. For some racing fans this could take the fun out of the sport, but the positive to this is the risk of accident to the driver is removed; meaning the only damage made would be to the vehicle. With the absence of a driver means the car can be designed to be more aerodynamic, making it lighter and more effective when traveling around the track. 

A vehicle driven by a human needs to have a windscreen, wipers and indicators, for obvious reasons. As an autonomous racing vehicle wouldn’t require a driver, these features would be redundant. Although we don’t pay much attention to these features during races anyway, it would certainly take some time getting used too, as we’re so used to seeing a driver controlling the vehicle.

Do autonomous cars have a place in racing?

It’s safe to say that if autonomous vehicles do ever enter the world of racing, then it’s going to be in the distant future; however, it’s not impossible. With technology constantly evolving and car manufacturers battling against each other for the number one spot in the motoring industry, the thought of autonomous vehicles on our roads may be sooner than what we think. There’s no definitive answer whether or not we’ll see driverless cars on our roads or the race track, but it would certainly add a more exciting side to the sport.

If you’re a racing enthusiast or have an interest in the sport, then it would be great to hear your thoughts. Feel free to join in the conversation on social, by using #AutonomousRacing.

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