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Autonomous racing cars
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Formula 1 is a well promoted series of events in which highly funded teams of engineers, designers and racing drivers try to outperform one another by building and running their car round the track in competition with one another.

There are various aspects that spectators can find interesting or exciting, from supporting a particular team, or driver, the excitement of witnessing an accident, and for some, getting involved in the intricacies of the rules and regulations - in these respects, it's much like any other sport.

I propose a new form of F1, with the following amendments:
1) the drivers are removed from the cars altogether. Since the 80s, safety has improved, resulting in far fewer driver deaths and serious injuries - this is unarguably a good thing - but like the abolition of gladiatorial combat, results in a reduction in excitement for the action-hungry masses
2) The cars are driven autonomously, by computer
3) Uncoupled from the safety aspect, speeds, downforces and other tweakable factors are increased to maximise speed and excitement

The world is then invited to sit back and spectate, treated with live feeds from the control rooms, car-cams, car-crash instant replays and in-race interviews with lead programmers, all surrounded by glossily waxed his-and-her swimwear models, lavishly overflowing coupes de champagne and all the trappings of ego, excess and celebrity that we come to expect from top-level sports.

zen_tom, Jun 30 2015

ED Torq - Autonomouse Race Vehicle http://torq.eddesign.it/#ED_TORQ
On it. [tatterdemalion, Jun 30 2015]


       Nice idea. The spectators should all be AI constructs too, programmed to follow the action and appreciate and discern the different driving qualities of the various autonomous cars.
hippo, Jun 30 2015

       Why not just implement it all in software?
pocmloc, Jun 30 2015

       Yes, [pocmloc] it's natural to go from automated drivers, to a full simulation/software implementation, but I think here we're trying to construct something that actual, real people might find themselves interested in watching - something physical, with a sense of danger, risk and excitement - and having big hunks of metal and plastic zooming around a track and flipping out into messy and explosive clouds of debris might provide at least as much of what is currently provided by the existing F1 spectacle - only faster, bigger and more punchy than is achievable (ethically) with an integrated human component. I agree taking the human out of the machine does detract in the peril-stakes, and I suppose this idea assumes a particular set of ethical views that precludes actual death and peril on the track - death and peril in the control-rooms, private lives and human interactions of the celebrity participants are of course another matter.   

       And [hippo] there's certainly a case that there'd be cadre of individuals who'd be interested in watching a set of AI spectators (TV's "Goggle-Box" provides a precedent - at least in terms of making meta-spectators out of its audience) - though I'm focusing on the primary spectacle here.   

       [Ian] yes, a G1 might well consist of a single non-Greek participant, on their own, though it might be unnecessarily redundant to call it a "G" (I'm assuming the G is anacronymic for "Group") and just have a 1.
zen_tom, Jun 30 2015

       //it might be unnecessarily redundant to call it a "G" (I'm assuming the G is anacronymic for "Group") and just have a 1//

If you know it's not a group (and therefore that the 'G' is not needed) you also know that it's just a single participant, so the '1' isn't needed either - the name of this body then becomes "".
hippo, Jun 30 2015

       //something physical, with a sense of danger, risk and excitement// But there is no danger involved in watching robots race.   

       How about simulated boxing? Or robot trapeze artists?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2015

       High Speed Battlebots. They should have spinning discs of death and such, maybe Mad Max style vehicles without the people.
RayfordSteele, Jun 30 2015

       //Mad Max style vehicles// Ahem.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 30 2015

       Ian, yes - we have however just upgraded to an operating system which is still supported by its manufacturer, which feels quite up-to-date and modern.
hippo, Jun 30 2015

       But if you’re watching it on a screen, does it matter if it is “real world” or simulated, if visually you can’t tell the difference?
pocmloc, Jun 30 2015

       This is a stellar idea! There would still be more than a little promise of mayhem involved as fragments of carbot could hurtle into the stands. But the liberation from safety needs for the sake of speed alone makes a lot of sense. For the old timers one could have one or more human piloted cars up against the robots. Robots could come in two classes: piloted and autonomous. For a predictable venue like a race track I think autonomous would really shine.
bungston, Jun 30 2015

       [pocmloc] That's a very interesting idea. It's probably now possible to render a computer-simulated Formula One race in real-time.
hippo, Jul 01 2015


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