Energy Systems Network and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, organizers of the Indy Autonomous Challenge, today unveiled the car that will be autonomously driven by scores of university teams in the world’s first high-speed, head-to-head autonomous race to be held at the Brickyard on Oct. 23, 2021.
Modified Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights chassis will be is retrofitted with rugged on-board computing, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and perception systems; high-end graphics processing units (GPUs); drive-by-wire controls; and artificial intelligence acceleration and powerful central processing units to run IAC teams’ software and algorithms in the racecar.
One of the challenges for autonomous racing is solving edge case scenarios – challenges that occur only at extreme operating parameters, such as avoiding unanticipated obstacles at high speeds.
“Designing the chassis for autonomous racing was really challenging,” explained Stefano dePonti, CEO and general manager of Dallara USA. “Dallara loves innovation and technological challenges, and we share the IAC’s passion for education and motorsports.
“We know how the world’s best race car drivers react in the Dallara, in high-speed scenarios,” dePonti continued, “but now we have to anticipate the actions of a robot.”
“The Dallara-built IAC race car (will be) the most advanced, fastest autonomous vehicle ever developed,” stated Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of ESN, and co-organizer of the IAC. “Our IAC sponsors are providing radar, lidar, optical cameras and advanced computers, bringing the value of each vehicle to $1 million.”
The primary goal of the IAC is to advance technologies that can speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), leading to increased safety and performance. In addition, the IAC is a challenging competition to excite the best and brightest university students from around the world to engage in hands-on engineering firsts.
The race is scheduled for Oct. 23, with a qualifying simulation race to be held during the Indy 500 week in May. Ansys is providing a $150,000 prize to the winner of the simulation race – a key milestone leading up to the main event. The IAC is providing a $1 million prize to the winner of the physical race at IMS, with second and third-placed finishers winning $250,000 and $50,000 respectively.
More than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, PhDs and mentors who excel in artificial intelligence software have responded to the challenge, representing 39 universities in 11 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states.