Indy Autonomous Challenge Winner Sets Autonomous Speed Records at Milan Motor Show

The IAC said the race at the Monza 'Temple of Speed' was the first of its kind.

Business Wire

Team PoliMOVE won the first autonomous driving road-course time-rial competition and celebrated on the Monza Winner’s Podium.
Indy Autonomous Challenge announced that Team PoliMOVE continued its winning streak, as a backup autonomous vehicle beat two others in a road-course, time-trial competition.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge today announced that Team PoliMOVE won the first-ever autonomous driving road-course trial competition held at the Monza “Temple of Speed.” The competition was part of the Milan Monza Motor Show, or MIMO, which ran from June 16 to 18 at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

“Once again, the Indy Autonomous Challenge is pushing the boundaries of high-speed automation with a historic time trial race on the iconic Monza F1 circuit,” said Paul Mitchell, president of the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), in a release.

“It was an honor for the IAC to have our competition approved by the Automobile Club d’Italia—ACI Sport—and watch the fans cheer on the winning hometown team PoliMOVE,” he added. “We can’t wait to come back next year and attempt some head-to-head racing.”

The IAC organizes competitions among university-affiliated teams from around the world to program fully autonomous racecars and compete in a series of history-making events at iconic tracks. The Indianapolis-based organization said it is working to establish a hub for performance automation in Indiana and is looking to attract the best and the brightest minds from around the globe to advance technology in safety and performance of automated vehicles.

The IAC started as a $1 million prize competition with 31 university teams signing up to compete more than two years ago, representing top engineering and technology universities from 11 countries including 15 U.S. states.

IAC expands

In January, the IAC said it would expand its challenges to include road courses and formed a two-year partnership with the Milan Monza Motor Show to run competitions at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the famed F1 circuit. IAC teams were tasked with programming their AI drivers to pilot identical Dallara AV-21 racecars in the first IAC exhibition ever held on a road course and the first run outside the U.S.

The IAC brought six autonomous racecars and five university teams to MIMO to compete in six sessions over three days, totaling more than 1,300 miles of testing. It reported that the cars consistently reached increasing speeds and ran progressively faster lap times.

The autonomous driving software was programmed by students and researchers from some of the most advanced research centers in the world, including teams from:

  • KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)
  • MIT-PITT-RW (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo)
  • PoliMOVE (Politecnico di Milano, University of Alabama)
  • TII UNIMORE Racing (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)
  • TUM Autonomous Motorsport (Technische Universität München)

Indy Autonomous Challenge cars prepare

IAC racecars are built on identical hardware from sponsors and partners, while the university teams provide the AI. Source: Indy Autonomous Challenge

Seconds separate the winner

TII UNIMORE Racing, TUM Autonomous Motorsport, and PoliMOVE entered the final round of competition on Sunday afternoon separated by only three seconds.

Team PoliMOVE finished its final lap in a blistering 2:05.87 on the 5.79 km (3.6-mi.)-long track, with 11 turns, reaching a top speed of 273.4 kph/169.8 mph. PoliMOVE’s AI driver was piloting a backup AV-21 racecar because its original car was wrecked during practice earlier in the week.

In addition, Team PoliMOVE had won three previous races, including the Indy AutonomousChallenge at CES 2023.

TUM Autonomous Motorsport took second place with a lap time of 2:08.66 (269.9 kph/167.7 mph top speed). TII UNIMORE Racing finished third with a final lap time of 2:11.24 (250.8 kph/155.8 mph top speed).

More than 10,000 spectators filled the stands to witness fully autonomous racecars competing on an F1 circuit. The fact that a “hometown” team representing Politecnico di Milano won resulted in a historic celebration on the Monza Winner’s Podium, said the IAC.

ACI Milano issues first AI driver's licenses

Each of the five university teams participating received an official driving license to participate in the competition, issued by ACI Milano. Although the license is granted to the team leader, it represents a first-of-its-kind motorsport license for an “AI driver.”

To gain approval from ACI Sport, the IAC and each university team had to submit historical data and demonstrate track tests at Monza to validate the ability and safe operations of an autonomous racecar. Marelli provided the connectivity technology.

The IAC will continue to collaborate with ACI Sport and the Autodromo Nazionale Monza to advance the rules and regulations guiding autonomous racing competitions with the goal of holding the first multicar head-to-head racing competition during MIMO 2024.

In addition to track activities, the IAC exhibited alongside Premier Sponsors, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and Luminar, in Pit Boxes 37 to 39. The exhibition allowed spectators to learn about IAC’s base of operations in Indiana where it is partnering with the IEDC to develop a global hub for high speed automation.

What is the IAC?

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Business Wire

Team PoliMOVE won the first autonomous driving road-course time-rial competition and celebrated on the Monza Winner’s Podium.

Robot Technologies