High-speed autonomy: can racing plug the gap?

The push to commercialise autonomous vehicles (AVs) has slowed, if not stalled, in the past few years. But achievements on the academic front are racing ahead, quite literally, thanks to the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC). What started as a one-off prize competition has grown to become an ongoing applied research initiative to perfect high-speed autonomous driving capabilities.

Racing roots

Like the IndyCar racing series, which has been running for more than a century, IAC is also headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The non-profit brings together university teams to race AVs on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the oldest racetrack in the world and one originally built as a proving ground for automotive technology.

“We went out and marketed this to the top universities around the world,” says IAC President Paul Mitchell.

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