Step aside, Lewis Hamilton. Relax, Scott Dixon. The city has a new motor racing gig and no drivers are needed.
We are talking about the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a motor race for driverless cars.
The race will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Circuit in October 2021, and this week organizers revealed the car chassis that will house each team’s autonomous technology.
Entrants include 30 teams from public, private and academic institutions around the world, with a team costing $ 1 million crossing the line first. Organizers say the competition aims to get 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 entrant will be offered exactly the same racing car – the new-generation Dallara IL-15, powered by Mazda’s 2.0-liter turbocharged MZR-R four-cylinder engine. This leaves competitors to build all-important autonomous software that will guide their car around the track.
The competition culminated in a major race in October, in which contestants would be challenged to reach 25 minutes or less (an average of about 120 mph), including 20-lap, multicar drives.
The winning team will award $ 1 million, while the $ 250,000 and $ 50,000 prize will go to the second and third place teams, respectively.
The first round of the competition presented a paper outlining the team’s approach to building an autonomous racing car, with subsequent rounds focusing on designing, manufacturing and testing a self-driving vehicle.
The Indy Autonomous Challenge is not the only attempt to attempt autonomous racing. There is also Robores, organizers of which have worked at events using self-driving racing cars over the years.
In 2019, a Robores car hit a top speed of 175.49 mph, setting a new speed record for driverless cars. Another Robores car, however, appeared to pose a challenge for the toughest race of the term, which began last year when it left the grid and went straight into a wall.
There is still much work to be done to create the perfect autonomous racing car, but such contests are inspiring great minds to work towards that exciting goal. We can’t wait to see what the Indy Autonomous Challenge team has brought.