Driverless Racing Challenge Coming to Indianapolis
Stand aside, Lewis Hamilton. Get some rest, Scott Dixon. There’s a new motorsport gig in town and no drivers are needed.
We’re talking about the Indy Autonomous Challenge, an auto race for driverless cars.
The race will take place on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit in October 2021. This week the organizers unveiled the chassis that will house each team’s autonomous technology.
Participants include 30 teams from public, private and academic institutions around the world. A cool $ 1 million goes to the team that crosses the line first. Organizers say the goal of the competition is to encourage students to “imagine, invent and prove a new generation of automated vehicle software and inspire the next generation of STEM talent”.
To ensure a level playing field, each participant receives exactly the same racing car – the new-generation Dallara IL-15, which is powered by Mazda’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder MZR-R turbocharged engine. This lets competitors develop the crucial autonomous software that guides their car over the track.
The competition spans five laps and culminates in the grand October race, which challenges contestants to reach the finish line in 25 minutes or less (120 mph average) in a 20-lap multicar ride.
The winning team will receive $ 1 million, while the teams will take second and third place with prizes of $ 250,000 and $ 50,000.
The first round of the competition included a paper submission outlining the team’s approach to creating an autonomous racing car. The following rounds focused on designing, building and testing the self-driving vehicle.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge isn’t the only event that seeks to drive autonomous races. There is also Roborace, whose organizers have worked on their own events with self-driving racing cars in recent years.
In 2019, a Roborace car reached 175.49 mph, setting a new speed record for driverless cars. Another Roborace car, however, seemed challenged to the word’s silliest race start last year when it left the grid and crashed straight into a wall.
There is still a lot of work to be done to create the perfect autonomous racing car, of course, but competitions like this inspire great minds to work towards this exciting goal. We can’t wait to see what the Indy Autonomous Challenge teams come up with.