Formula E could develop driverless element, says Agag

Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:48am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Imagine a motor race where the cars drive themselves from the garage to starting grid and then park up, ready for the drivers to jump in.

Sounds like science fiction? Not for Alejandro Agag, the chief executive of the Formula E electric series whose latest brainchild is an entirely driverless championship to be known as 'Roborace'.

If the Spaniard concedes that robot racing is not sport as the world knows it, he believes the technology could also find a home in more conventional competition -- and maybe not in the too distant future.

"Maybe...(Formula E) cars could drive themselves to the starting grid and the drivers can just walk and do interviews on the way," Agag told Reuters when asked about potential crossover between Roborace and his main series.

"I think that is a transfer we could organize quite soon, actually," he added.

"I kind of just came up with it but...the cars could just go and place themselves on the grid and then we start the race. This is the kind of technology every car will have in the future," he added.

Agag, an entrepreneur whose office in Hammersmith, West London, overlooks a particularly traffic-choked part of the capital, is a big fan of 'disruptive' technology that changes the existing order.

He also likes to think out loud, the conversation free-wheeling from the dawn of classical civilization to the realms of science fiction, but his series has pushed boundaries from the start.   Continued...

Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO, gestures next to Michela Cerruti's Formula E car in the box during an interview with Reuters ahead of round four of the Formula E championship in Buenos Aires, January 8, 2015.   REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci