The bleeding edge of automotive... part 2

Autonomous vehicles - the not so obvious route from the racing circuit

Williams F1 Felipe Massa
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Who would put F1 development teams and ‘connected autonomous vehicles’ in the same sentence? Surely F1 driving is the antithesis of the self-driving vehicle. Races are won by the driving abilities of drivers, their lightning fast reactions and steely calm under pressure.

Yet - just as electric vehicles are now the intense focus of automotive development - connected and autonomous systems are put to the test in racing environments.

I have heard a member of the Williams F1 team argue that the development and application testing that F1 development teams undertake is exactly the right framework for autonomous vehicle.

F1 cars are developed by teams. A whole group of people monitor the car as it performs – so that the driver only needs to concentrate on driving not fuel injection or engine monitoring. This team work is only possible because of sensitive sensor technology with instant connections. Analysis uses sophisticated computers and banks vast amounts of information to build up understanding of vehicle performance in different conditions and on different tracks.

Not only this, F1 is an intensive and dynamic vehicle development process. Teams build, develop and adjust vehicles constantly. Their experience and expertise is exactly that which will feed the development of autonomous and connected vehicles.

At the bleeding edge of racing, teams are embracing electric drive trains, connectivity and autonomy.

The cars we drive will follow.

Title image: Williams F1 - Felipe Massa, CC BY 2.0

by Beate Kubitz at 14 Feb 2019, 00:00 AM