Lucas di Grassi becomes CEO of driverless Roborace series
Reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has been named as the CEO of the driverless Roborace series.
Di Grassi, who came out on top over Sebastien Buemi in Formula E's season finale in Montreal in July, became an advisor of Roborace last year and was also a founding partner of FE, being the official test driver for the series before joining the grid for its debut season in 2014.
"We want to take Roborace where motorsport cannot go, focusing the platform on future road-relevant autonomous technology," said di Grassi, enforcing his belief that the development of the driverless series can benefit motorsport on a whole.
"The future of mobility is autonomous, that's an industry consensus now.
"In the same way, I believe that motorsport is about the driver, who is the best human being behind the wheel.
"I want to develop the Roborace series to be complimentary to traditional motorsport, and not to replace it.
"We invite the OEMs, suppliers, technology companies and universities to use our platform to showcase their technology and intellectual capacity in driverless systems.
"With the technology evolving so fast we must remain flexible on the events, races and challenges we are promoting.
Roborace completed a number of demonstartions throughout the 2016-17 Formula E season, running its 'DevBot' in Marrakech, Buenos Aires, New York and Montreal. The series' racing car made its first public appearance back in May ahead of the Paris ePrix.
Roborace has confirmed that it will use the forthcoming 2017-18 Formula E season to "develop a flexible format for the competition that can adapt to the rapid developments in both the electric and autonomous industries".
As a result of di Grassi becoming the CEO of Roborace, Denis Sverdlov, the series' founder, will step into an advisory role.
"We are thrilled that Lucas has agreed to come on board in an official capacity as Roborace continues to grow," said Sverdlov.
"He brings a wealth of knowledge from other motorsport competitions he has developed and evolved and we are privileged to benefit from his experience.
"Lucas truly understands the importance of what Roborace can achieve - making our roads smarter and safer by sharing the benefits of A.I. [artificial intelligence] to advance everything from driver assistance to collision avoidance, security technologies to full autonomy," he added.