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Autonomous race cars hit Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2021

Autonomous race cars will hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year, and their design was revealed for the first time during a CES Media Event presentation this week.

The cars will debut in the speedway’s Indy Autonomous Challenge, a million-dollar prize race featuring 20 laps, more than 30 teams and zero drivers.

“It’s racing, but in a futuristic way,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Doug Boles said during the Monday event.

More than participating 30 teams have each created their own algorithms for a self-driving race car, and they will compete against one another in late October in a fully autonomous race at the Motor Speedway.

The competition’s goal is “harnessing the power of prize competitions” to advance the field of autonomous transportation, according to Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network, an Indiana-based public-private technological initiative.

Italian race car manufacturer Dallaro designed the bodies, and Clemson University’s Deep Orange automotive program outfitted them with an artificial intelligence framework.

The cars differ from one another in how they are programmed to drive. The competing teams, comprising university students across the U.S. and world, have each developed their own algorithm they hope will put them carry them to the finish line.

Advisers for the challenge include Jamie Hyneman, a set engineer known for his role on the show “Mythbusters;” Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway; and Sebastian Thrun, a computer scientist who won a 2005 self-driving car competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense’s research branch.

The race is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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