To err is human... Well sort of

[B]To err is to be Human[/B]

Just as we saw during the closing stages of last season’s MotoGP series, psychology is an area that should never be underestimated in motor sport – or any sport for that matter.

This micro-universal truth was never more evident than it was at Long Beach last Saturday. Despite having lost his Mexico ePrix results due to weight infringements, Lucas di Grassi was in maximum attack mode; channelling his frustrations into his driving, but in the controlled manner you’d expect from a driver of his calibre.

Contrastingly, it was Sebastien Buemi who dropped the ball at Long Beach. Always an aggressive steerer, the Swiss driver has always walked the tightrope between the sublime and the slaphappy. Unfortunately his performance on Saturday saw the latter, his frustration getting the better of him by slamming into the back of Antonio Felix Da Costa’s Aguri and relinquishing the championship lead to di Grassi in the process.

[B]Autonomy of autonomous vehicles[/B]

While there are a number of philosophies regarding the ethical values associated with autonomous vehicles, there is no standard agreement. In fact the rate of progress of technology in this area is constantly shifting the ethical goal-posts, with customer feedback providing a blueprint for how autonomous transportation will manifest.

With the rate of progress in autonomous vehicle tech moving so quickly, will the development of the ethics algorithm be able to keep up? Last weekend’s Long Beach saw an intriguing panel discussion on this subject from Qualcomm representatives.

“When you buy a car today, you have all the elements that are building towards an autonomous vehicle. You may not realise it, but they’re there already” said Qualcomm’s Paul Rivera. All these things will be happening over the next eighteen months. As such we’re going to see a dramatic catch up in where the regulators see the benefits from a safety stand point.”

What was more interesting, was how Qualcomm viewed the integration of Roborace as a support series to Formula E. Having invested heavily as a partner for the fully electric single seater series, the wireless communication giant was quick to see the benefit with its drone technology.

“We’ve had some conversations with the Roborace guys to see where we could fit within that and bring some of the expertise that we’ve shown on all things technical over the last two years”, said Graeme Davidson, Vice President of Technology at Qualcomm.

“Six months ago Qualcomm launched a drone development hardware where people could go out and buy the basic levels of what they needed to do to buy their own drones and then put their own intelligence systems on top of that. The autonomous racer from Roborace basically reflects that. Wireless charging also makes sense with a car that can park itself and charge. So there’re a number of technologies that would be of interest to Qualcomm.”

In the same way a conventional race team implements track simulation and engine mapping for race strategies, it’s conceivable that Roborace teams could input their own intelligence for race strategies. Obviously variables play a part, but the more intelligent this software becomes, the possibility of autonomous vehicles executing ‘on the fly’ strategy decisions becomes more tangible.

Hopefully we can trust that they know what they’re doing.

Surely the whole idea of motor racing is man/woman against nature?

I guess like anything its an evolving concept.

not really:tongue: