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Concept

This is DevBot, a prototype autonomous electric racer

Roborace's development car gets a cute name and some scary tech

Published: 24 Aug 2016

This is DevBot. Not the protagonist in an upcoming Pixar movie, but a racing prototype built by the good folks over at Roborace. You remember Roborace: purveyors of an all-electric racing series designed to support the Formula E championship.

Just a couple of weeks back, Roborace showcased an updated render of how the full-sized racer might look. DevBot, as you can clearly see, is nothing like it. Principally because it's been built with an actual cabin designed to accomodate mere mortals and their pesky human failings.

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Why? "The primary purpose of the DevBot is to allow teams to develop their software and experience the hardware that will be used on the 'Robocar'," the company explained in a recent social media post. "Unlike the Robocar the DevBot has a cabin that can be driven by a human or a computer allowing teams to fully understand how the car thinks and feels on a racetrack alongside the comprehensive real-time data."

It gets all the same lovely tech as the planned Roboracer - drivetrain, sensors, computing power and comms tech - which will be revealed in full later this year. The original render of course (included in the gallery above) was penned by Daniel Simon, who designed the cars for the Tron:Legacy film. So it's suitably geeky. And excellent.

“My goal was to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty,” explained Simon earlier this year. “Racing engineers and aerodynamicists have worked with me from the beginning to strike that balance.

“It was important to us that we generate substantial downforce without unnecessary parts cluttering the car,” he continued. “This is largely made possible by using the floor as the main aerodynamic device and we are currently developing active body parts that are more organic and seamless than solutions today.”

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Autonomous cars? Fine. Autonomous racecars? Sheesh.

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