Indy Autonomous Challenge crowns first champions

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The PoliMOVE Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) team, hailing from Politecnico di Milano in Italy and the University of Alabama in the US, has won the inaugural Autonomous Challenge at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, making the team the first head-to-head autonomous race car competition champion.

PoliMOVE competed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a field of five teams from five countries representing seven universities to win the US$150,000 grand prize. TUM Autonomous Motorsport from the Technical University of Munich in Germany took second place with a US$50,000 prize.

The rules of the IAC competition required each team to qualify in a high-speed autonomous time trial competition, determining their seed in the head-to-head passing competition. All teams raced in the Dallara AV-2 autonomous race car. PoliMOVE competed against TUM Autonomous Motorsport in the final round of the competition and, in addition to winning, set the fastest speed record on an oval with a top speed of 278.5km/h.

“Today was the real birth of autonomous racing,” said professor Sergio Savaresi, leader of the Politecnico di Milano team. “The real high-speed multi-agent racing was pushed to its very limits. The research on autonomous cars will certainly benefit from this historic milestone.”

Organized by Energy Systems Network, the primary goal of the IAC is to advance technology that will speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). “We came to CES this week, the world’s most influential technology innovation event, to showcase to the world how this competition is catapulting autonomous technologies forward,” said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO, Energy Systems Network. “We’re harnessing the power of prize competitions to attract the best and the brightest minds from around the globe to further the state-of-the-art technology in safety and performance of automated vehicles, and the teams did just that today with another historic competition.”

Halo, a remote-piloted driverless car service operating on T-Mobile’s 5G network, served as the official pace car, leading each set of IAC teams off of pit lane and completing a warmup lap at speeds of 104-128km/h before the start of each round.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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