Universities to race self-driving cars at Indianapolis Speedway

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The two-year-long competition will reach its ultimate crescendo this week at Speedway, Indiana, as nine college teams prepare to race self-driving cars for $ 1 million in the iconic Brickyard. The final two rounds of the Indy Autonomous Challenge are scheduled to take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week.

The first two rounds of the software-driven autonomous vehicle competition focused on each participating team officially launching their IAC project and demonstrating their ability to automate a passenger vehicle. The first two laps took place in early 2020. The third round saw each team prove their ability to competently and safely operate an automated Dallara IL-15, a modified version of the same car used in Indy Lights. Indy Lights is a racing championship designed to prepare drivers for the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, the flagship event of the IndyCar. In February 2021, the third round took place on a simulation provided by the competition which recreated the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the automated Dallara IL-15, a virtual environment to pit teams against each other in a format corresponding to the fourth and fifth rounds to to come.

Last week, the Indy Autonomous Challenge announced the nine teams that advanced passed the third round and will participate in the last two laps this week at the Speedway. These teams represent 21 universities from 9 different countries

The finalists:

  • AI racing technology
    University of Hawaii, University of California San Diego
  • Autonomous Tiger Race
    Auburn University
  • Black and Gold Autonomous Race
    Purdue University, United States Military Academy at West Point, with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (India), Universidad de San Buenaventura (Colombia)
  • Autonomous racing rider
    University of Virginia
  • EuroRacing
    University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), University of Pisa (Italy), ETH Zürich (Switzerland), Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)
  • KAIST
    Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (South Korea)
  • MIT-PITT-RW
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo (Canada)
  • PoliMOVE
    Politecnico di Milano (Italy), University of Alabama
  • Autonomous Motorsport TUM
    Technische Universität München (Germany)

The fourth and fifth rounds, the last two rounds, are very much like a traditional motorsport event. In Round 4 on October 21-22, each team will attempt to qualify their Dallara IL-15 over the 2.5 mile oval for the race final. Each automated IL-15 will attempt 10-lap races alone on the track, similar to the four-lap qualifying races for the Indianapolis 500. A team will advance to the final round if their IL-15 meets two criteria during the race, complete all 10 laps in 15 minutes or less (minimum average speed 100 mph) and complete a single lap in 75 seconds or less (minimum average speed 120 mph). The performance of the teams in the fourth round will also determine the starting positions of the peloton in the fifth round, the final race.

The fifth round of October 23, the last race, will be a 20-lap head-to-head race between all successful qualifiers. The first IL-15 to cross the finish line will be declared the winner and the winning team will receive $ 1 million. The teams placed second and third will receive $ 250,000 and $ 50,000 respectively. It should be noted that the IL-15 must complete the race in 25 minutes or less to be classified as a finisher and eligible for a cash prize. The Indy Autonomous Challenge will continue the Speedway tradition of generously rewarding those who push the boundaries of mobility.

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