We've seen a couple of attempts at getting an autonomous racing series off the ground in recent years from the likes of Roborace and others, but none have really found much traction. A new series called the
Autonomous Challenge (IAC) hopes to change that.
The series was announced on Monday during the 2021 CES show and features racecar chassis designed by the experts at Dallara -- you may know it as the firm that does all the chassis for the Indy Car series others. Interestingly, this is being run as a spec race, where the cars are all identical mechanically and it's each team's software that gives it a competitive edge.
The race itself is set to take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a qualifying race in May during the Indy 500 weekend and the actual race happening on October 23rd, 2021. The field will feature several dozen teams from engineering schools around the world. The prize for winning the race is $1 million, with an additional $500,00 being awarded to the winners of simulation races and hackathons.
The IAC car is based on the IL-15 chassis from Dallara, which is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The chassis will be modified with sensors and controls, allowing it to operate autonomously. The integration of these new sensors, etc., will be done by a team from Clemson University and series sponsors will provide the sensors themselves.
Let's just hope this goes a little better than the Roborace event last year that saw an autonomous car almost immediately crash into a wall.