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The Indy Autonomous Challenge, or IAC, made two major announcements at CES 2024 this week. The first was that the IAC plans to present four autonomous racecar events in 2024, and the second was an updated technology stack.
The first event of the year is the IAC@CES, which takes place tomorrow at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Robot Report will be in attendance to cover this event later this week.
More Indy Autonomous Challenge races to come
The IAC will also participate for the second year in a row at the Milano Monza Open-Air Motor Show from June 16 to 18 in Milan, Italy. Last year, the challenge debuted autonomous road racing with the IAC autonomous race cars for the first time.
Unlike other oval track-based races, the Milan Monza event challenges the university teams to develop their AI drivers for a road course. It is arguably one of the most famous road-racing venues in the world and exposes the IAC to a global racing audience, said event organizers.
The third event in 2024 will be from July 11 to 14 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. Described as “motorsport’s ultimate summer garden party,” the festival features the treacherous Goodwood hill climb.
This year, the IAC race cars will attempt the hill climb while setting new autonomous speed records. At last year’s event, the course was captured digitally, and the university teams are using that data to train their AI drivers.
Finally, IAC will return this year to the famous Indy Motor Speedway on Sept. 6, where it all started back in October 2021. The event expects to set new speed records and enable more university teams to qualify for head-to-head racing at the event.
Tech stack gets updates for the AV24
The other big news from IAC this week is the launch of a new generation of autonomous racecar, called the AV24. The original race platform, the AV21, has aged since its launch at the first race.
Winning university teams PoliMOVE and TUM have set multiple speed records over the past three years, pushing the AV21 to its sensor and computing limits. The platform has also suffered from maintenance and troubleshooting issues, especially in the fragility of the wiring harnesses. Some of the harness problems have plagued many of the teams as they prepared prior competitions.
In response, the IAC team went through the sensor, networking, and compute stack and re-engineered an entirely new platform that should enable the university teams to continue to push the limits of speed and control while testing and developing cutting-edge AI driver algorithms. AV24 does not include any changes in the race car chassis, the engine, or the physical dimensions of the vehicle.
Here’s a look at what’s new in the AV24 technology stack.
Most notably, the AV24 now includes split braking controls that will allow the AV24 to manage braking on all four wheels of the vehicle separately, essentially giving the AI drivers more control of the vehicle than is humanly possible.
“The IAC event has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams,” said Paul Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of the Indy Autonomous Challenge. “We originally thought it would be a one-and-done challenge, but the event has thrived, so it was time to go back to the drawing board and deploy a new technology stack leveraging the best technology from our event partners.”