My Car Quest

April 23, 2021

Driverless Race Cars – The Indy Autonomous Challenge

by Mike Gulett –

Racing has been an instrument for advancing automobile technology from the beginning of the automobile. This trend will continue into the new world of self-driven autonomous automobiles and electric cars.

In my article series from June 2015, The Self-Driving Car Is Almost Here, (see the quote below) I predicted we would see autonomous car racing. And here we are about 6 years later the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced that the first such race will be held later this year.

speed racer

The Mach Five from the movie Speed Racer

From The Self-Driving Car Is Almost Here by Mike Gulett.

Car Racing

Autonomous cars could be programmed to drive a road race car better than a human. The autonomous car could brake at just the right place, turn in at the perfect spot, hit the apex, turn out just right and move from braking to power perfectly. An autonomous racecar would do all of this every time on every turn on every lap. The race would then be a race between the engineers, the designers and builders of the autonomous racecars. If every car in the race was an autonomous car then there would never be an accident except in the case of equipment failure.

In the beginning I expect we will see self-driven cars racing against identical manually driven cars piloted by the best racecar drivers in a similar fashion to the chess matches we have witnessed between people and IBM computers. Like the chess matches eventually the self-driven racecars will consistently win as the IBM computers have won chess matches.

From the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and Energy Systems Network (ESN) today announced a two-year, $1 million prize competition that will culminate in a head-to-head, high-speed autonomous vehicle race Oct. 23, 2021, around the Speedway’s famed 2.5-mile oval, which also plays host annually to the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the largest single-day sporting event in the world.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is a competition among universities to create software that enables self-driving Indy Lights race cars to compete in a head-to-head race on the IMS track. The development of such software can help speed the commercialization of full autonomous vehicles and enhance existing advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in people-driven cars. These technologies help drivers remain in control and avoid accidents by prompting awareness and improving accuracy.

Let the races begin and may the best software engineering team win!

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

speed-racer_car_1

Summary
Driverless Race Cars - The Indy Autonomous Challenge
Article Name
Driverless Race Cars - The Indy Autonomous Challenge
Description
Autonomous cars could be programmed to drive a road race car better than a human. The autonomous car could brake at just the right place, turn in at the perfect spot, hit the apex, turn out just right and move from braking to power perfectly.
Author

Comments

  1. Robb Northrup says

    Oh, yuck! We have enough designers and technicians in the sport that, in the case of Formula One, have made the racing BORING!

    It reminds me of the old board raceways of the 1920s. The cars piloted by real human drivers posted some very impressive average race speeds. But the design of the tracks made it difficult for drivers to do any passing and the racing ended up being a procession. The novelty eventually wore off. That, and the Great Depression, ended board track racing.

    I fear that autonomous racing cars will do the same. Techies at Microsoft may get all excited, but car enthusiast will stay away. The racing car is an extension of the driver and his/her abilities (similar to horse racing and other equine events). Autonomous racing cars will be the extension of nothing. Not even as fun as RC car racing!

    Robb Northrup
    President, Apollo Owners Registry

  2. This totally ridiculous! Race events keep getting restricted so far that the purpose of racing to be an instrument for advancing automobile technology is no longer the case.
    Formula 1 for example has even been regulated so far now that it is just choreographed driving, and has gotten away from the original intent of the first person with the best design, driving at his peak, with a little luck was the winner, which is what made the champions that everyone pulled for.
    If you want a perfect designed car to do perfect everything without a driver, why not use an artificial track on a screen, that would be so exciting.
    This is not much more than going back to your basement and playing video games, except that would still require more skill than a computer racing for you.
    Drive a car or don’t drive a car is your choice, but it you want autonomous then lets separate this and have car people and computer generated people but do not think this is the car culture because it is not.

Speak Your Mind

*