Purdue University is partnering with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in a competition against other colleges from around the country and internationally in the first-ever high-speed $1.5 million Indy Autonomous Challenge.
The event, set for Oct. 23, 2021, features 37 universities, including those representing Austria, Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Poland, South Korea and Switzerland. It is presented by Energy Systems Network and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The IAC is a competition among universities to program autonomous-modified Dallara IL-15 racecars to compete in a head-to-head race at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour around the famed brickyard.
“This is an extraordinary challenge, calling on the best and brightest of our university students and faculty worldwide to engineer software that will have a significant impact on the future of all classes of transportation,” said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Indianapolis-based ESN, a developer of advanced transportation technology. “The diversity of the teams, representing 10 countries on four continents, shows the brilliance and ambition at these universities.”
The competition’s goal is to advance technology to speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems to lead to increased safety and performance in all modes of racing and commercial transportation, ESN said. The competition is also a platform for students to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).
“Testing technology for next generation vehicles is in our DNA, so the Indy Autonomous Challenge showcases our continued presence as a catalyst and proving ground for motorsport and transportation innovation,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “We are proud to provide the racing world’s biggest stage for the first head-to-head autonomous race in history, where these university teams will push the limits of performance and safety on the famed IMS oval—leading to safer and better cars on the highway.”
The Indy Autonomous Challenge follows the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, which led to expanded research and development in the field of autonomous vehicles.