If the idea of a future completely devoid of human drivers has you on edge, you may want to sit down - the world’s premier motorsport category is also looking to make the switch to autonomous cars.
You can relax for the time being though, as Formula 1’s plans to introduce autonomous cars only extends to the pace car, for now
The sport’s governing body, the FIA, is interested in the possibility of making the safety car an autonomous vehicle.
For now this season’s Mercedes-AMG GT safety car is driven by Bernd Maylander, a former German touring car (DTM) racer during the nineties and noughties, but the head of the FIA Formula 1 technical department, Marcin Budkowski, has told British publication Autosport he would like self-driving cars to demonstrate their capabilities to F1 fans using the safety car.
"Let me give you an example, but it is not the only one: we have spoken about an unmanned safety car," Budkowski told Autosport.
"It would promote a technology about which there is a bit of scepticism and, instead, it could be shown that it works.”
"The safety car driver would no longer be essential, because it would leave the controls to the computer.”
"But we must be aware of the attraction of race cars without drivers: the engineers would love it, but not the fans."
Formula 1 isn’t the only racing league with an interest in putting autonomous cars on the track with rival-series Formula E starting work on an autonomous racing series, known as Roborace (above), in 2015.
Originally set to debut during the 2016-17 Formula E series, Roborace is still in the development phase with the prototype and no specific timeframe announced for the first race.
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