Here's Why Full Autonomy Won't Kill Off Supercars

Jack Crosbie/ Inverse

Supercars like the Rimac Concept One are made to be driven, fast. In a world where all cars are autonomous, there’s not much point in having a finely-tuned driving machine if you never get to drive it. But Monika Mikac, the COO of Rimac Automobili, isn’t worried, because she thinks full autonomy could make supercars like the all-electric Concept One even more incredible than they already are.

“It can create a very different experience for supercar drivers,” Mikac said on Thursday during the New York International Auto Show. “Imagine if you have Schumacher driving your car, teaching you to drive it on the track.”

Mikac is referring to Michael Schumacher, a seven-time world champion in Formula One, one of the fastest and most competitive racing leagues in the world. With an autonomous supercar, she said, an A.I. with skills like Schumacher could take its owner for the lap of a lifetime around the track, and then give feedback when the owner tries to do it themselves.

Mikac, center, sees a world where F1 drivers can take you to work. 

Jack Crosbie/ Inverse 

While Mikac said the supercar industry is probably safe from the effects of automation for more than a few years, the technology for hyper-fast autonomous race cars is already being developed. Roborace, an exhibition event on the Formula E circuit, already has a fully self-driving electric race car.

The Rimac Concept One

Jack Crosbie/ Inverse

Rimac doesn’t currently have plans to implement autonomous capabilities into its vehicles, but it has been an early adopter of an all-electric powertrain in a world-class supercar, something Mikac sees as standard for the company.

“We were always the first ones, and we’re not afraid to be the first ones. We like to explore new technologies. We like to innovate,” she told Inverse after the forum. “For Rimac, innovation is the key. Will we be the first one implementing autonomous driving in a hypercar? I’m not sure. But I am sure that we are going in that direction.”

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