Generative AI helps prototype electric racecar smash world indoor land speed record

Generative AI helps prototype electric racecar smash world indoor land speed record

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

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A prototype electric racing car has smashed the world indoor land speed record at a meeting in London with the help of generative AI.

The GenBeta Formula E racecar reached a top speed of 218.71km/h (135.9mph), breaking the previous record by 50km/h with the help of Google’s generative AI.

GenBeta is a development platform based on the current Gen3 car platform that is used for racing this season, the tenth of Formula E. However GenBeta has a higher power of 400kW and four wheel traction for the first time.

The event also saw a version of the platform bult from electronic waste, including old iPhones.

The official Guiness World Records title was achieved by driver Jake Hughes of NEOM McLaren Formula E Team who competed with ABB FIA Formula E World Championship rival, Mahindra Racing team driver Lucas di Grassi.

The pair went head-to-head in the ‘Duels’ format used in qualifying for Formula E races to see who could set the fastest speed indoors, on just 346 metres of straight race track, using the same GenBeta car.

Google Cloud provided generative artificial intelligence (AI) for analysis of the drivers’ runs. Using the Vertex AI platform, Hughes and di Grassi were able to interpret real-time telemetry data to generate speed, power and grip recommendations. This gave them the ability to interact and converse with an interface to help fine tune their approach across their three attempts. The AI arm of McKinsey, QuantumBlack, built data and analytics components to create the driver interface that analysed and queried data in real time through generative AI for the record attempt.

To set the official indoor landspeed record, the GENBETA car had to set off from a static start and come to a complete halt inside one continuous building structure.

The drivers started from a standstill inside the ExCeL London events arena and navigated a 130-degree turn at around 40 km/h before quickly accelerating along the 346m straight of the race track. Their speed was measured by a speed trap system at a fixed point just five metres before the drivers entered the braking zone needed to come to a complete stop and remain inside the building.

“The GenBeta is the first time that four-wheel drive has been activated in a single-seater race car for both acceleration and braking regeneration. This was achieved by turning on the front powertrain kit to achieve greater traction during acceleration. The GENBETA showcases what will be possible for Formula E racing in the near future,” said Alessandra Ciliberti, Formula E Technical Manager at the FIA.

The Envision Racing Formula E team developed a full-size, drivable Formula E Gen3 ‘Recover-E’ car made entirely out of e-waste.

Envision partnered with British artist and designer Liam Hopkins to design and build the car entirely of donated electronic products by the UK tech business, Music Magpie and school children. Through this campaign, the team wants to increase awareness of the human impact of e-waste and the need to reuse and recycle old electrical products.

 “Unfortunately today we choose to discard and replace electronics instead of repairing and recycling them leading to a global e-waste crisis. Through design and creativity, we want to show the issue of e-waste and its potential to accelerate the creation of a circular economy,” said Hopkins.

“Alongside testing new battery technology for cars, we are on a mission to tackle e-waste and ensure the precious metals, minerals and materials in old laptops, mobile phones and other electrical devices are extracted and reused,” said Sylvain Filippi, Envision Racing’s Managing Director and CTO.

“If the millions upon millions of lithium batteries that are found in vapes and other products are recycled, it will dramatically reduce both the need for rare earth mineral mining and the large energy needed to create the batteries from scratch. We want to increase awareness of e-waste and help build a ‘circular economy’ where electrical products are reused or recycled, not thrown away.”


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