The Grand Prix goes Electric


The geeks in us had to check out the 2nd “electric Grand Prix” this year in Monaco to see how technology has transformed the way cars race. Indeed the organization has transformed the way we think about EV’s from being a “cheap toy” type of car that is not strong or powerful enough to be in a “real race” into not just a contender, but perhaps the future of racing!

For most of us geeks that detest traffic jams and screaming road rage drivers, we eagerly welcome AI taking over the drivers seat. What was really interesting to learn in the ePrix 2017 event was the potential for IoT and neural network technology that is already being leveraged to squeak out seconds of time in a race. Many of us geeks know that Lidar and camera based “sensors” in EV’s that are indeed better than our “biological sensors” in the sense that they can detect “stuff” in longer or wider ranges than our eyes, ears or even nose. But, the “mesh” of data and processing it all to make decisions on “driving behaviors” and changes is evident in the horizon. That is really exciting when you consider cars will soon communicate among themselves and make decisions on their own, based on inputs from data they collect from other cars, systems like “waze”, IoT sensors in the road itself, or satellites (GPS) that will enable EV’s to cruise thru traffic 100x more efficiently with no road rage. Well at least until AI gets feelings!

The technology in the ePRIX cars is nothing short of fascinating when you have a look in the cockpit and dream about the forces pushing you back in the seat, or pulling you thru a curve. The HUD info connected back to the network is really tricked out cool and you can check out some Youtube videos like the following to get an idea:

One of the things you “become” in owning an EV today is like some kind of “spokesperson” as people stop you in the street to ask about the electric car at charing points. EV adoption is still in the nascent stages; I mean the industry of EV’s is still a transition from toxic air producing vehicles to systems that are probably a bit better inside cities especially. But adding to the entire “eco-friendly” aspects of the EV is the technology that is just flat out “cool”; especially for kids! And who is nothing short of a “kid” than a adult geek playing with cars?

We spent some time at the e-village and learned how the cars work, and the kids in all of us got to try out some of the BMW cars and examples of technology.

So the question that came to us a few times was “are they fast”? We geeks can assure you the Tesla “ludicrous”  button gives a lot of inspiration, but the throttle on the ePrix cars is one I would love to push!