Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been slower to materialise than expected. Players like General Motors and Tesla were once promising vast fleets of robotaxis by 2019. While there are indeed commercial fleets in operation today, numbers are miniscule. Most autonomous operations currently take place in geofenced areas or along set routes, and even here a sizeable percentage of consumers voice concerns about their safety. Every year new studies highlight the need for greater education and exposure to self-driving technology if developers are to convince the public that this is something not to fear but to welcome with open arms.
Education and excitement
The Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL) aims to do just that. The brainchild of Aspire, the technology transition pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the new series will mark the largest autonomous racing league in the world. It kicks off with an inaugural race on 28 April 2024 at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit. Thomas McCarthy, Executive Director of Aspire and Lead of A2RL, believes it could be pivotal to building consumer support for AVs.