Allan McNish and Dario Franchitti have been recruited by a California-based self-driving technology company to help develop its autonomous vehicle programs.
COAST Autonomous will use three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti and three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner McNish to “help deliver autonomous vehicle solutions for low-speed environments”.
McNish currently works as team principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The company aims to provide self-driving technology for locations such as university and college campuses, airports, resorts, theme parks and city centers.
It plans to deploy its first fleets next year and has a software that combines pedestrian safety and low-cost sensor fusion without compromizing on performance.
“As with all racing drivers, I enjoy cars and performance,” said McNish. “However, I am in total agreement with COAST’s thesis regarding the benefits of low-speed AVs in private sites, city centers and controlled environments.
“In my world travels, I get to see the problems with traffic and pollution and I do believe that a combination of electrification and enlarged pedestrian city centres with low-speed on-demand AVs for mobility is a solution that can significantly improve urban environments.
“In the meantime, I am looking forward to testing a COAST golf cart and P-1 Shuttle. Even if their vehicles go slow, I am excited to help COAST’s business accelerate!”
In addition to the two Scottish racing legends, COAST’s advisory board also includes Stanford professor Dr. Marco Pavone and Rick Baker, former mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla.