October 23, 2021
A team from Germany, TUM Autonomous Motorsport from the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich), has won the Indy Autonomous Challenge, the first autonomous racecar competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. TUM competed in a field of nine teams from 21 universities to win the $1 million grand price.
The competition rules required each team to compete in a fastest lap competition, which included an obstacle avoidance component. The winning team recorded the fastest two-lap average speed of 135.944 mph on the famed speedway oval.
“Participating in the Indy Autonomous Challenge allowed our team to advance autonomous driving technologies and being able to take first place after two years of hard work acknowledges that we had an outstanding team,” said Alex Wischnewski, team leader of TUM Autonomous Motorsport. “Our next goal is to win a high-speed autonomous head-to-head race.”
Organized by Energy Systems Network and the speedway, the primary goal of the IAC is to advance technology that can speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). The organizers said the enhancements will lead to increased safety and performance in motorsports, as well as all modes of commercial transportation. In addition, the competition serves as a platform for students to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to inspire the next generation of innovators.
Indiana Goveror Eric J. Holcomb officially started the competition with the call, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your software and crank your engines.”
“The IAC would not be possible without the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc. and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which have been committed partners since the beginning,” said Paul Mitchell. “The prize money won by TUM Autonomous Motorsport will go to the Technische Universität München to support the university’s efforts to further autonomous technology research and development. We know that the achievements of our IAC teams, alongside some of the best companies in the world, will certainly lead to the acceleration of Indiana’s AI and automation industries well into the future.”
In addition to the thousands of attendees at the IMS, more than 20,000 viewers watched the livestream, and more than 350 high school STEM students attended the event.