Driving Innovation: Autonomous Racecar to Perform at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2024


Happy Thursday, readers.

We’ve heard of (and have written quite a lot about) autonomous commercial vehicles and ongoing developments therein, but what about autonomous racecars?

Two immediate thoughts:

  1. Please, please ensure safety with such things.
  2. With safe operations in mind, that sounds wicked cool.

I’m a simple IoT writer, y’all. That’s my initial take.

So, let’s flesh out the following story with details from the experts themselves.

There exists – presented by Bridgestone – the Indy Autonomous Challenge, or IAC. The IAC actively gathers teams from around the world to compete in a series of intense challenges aimed at responsibly advancing technologies that further the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS. Geared (pun intended) towards university teams, IAC competitions showcase what students excelling in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, can really do.

In the IAC’s own words, “We build the world’s fastest autonomous racecars and provide the only platform capable of advancing future mobility through edge-case testing in both real and simulated environments.”

For instance, take the IAC-built AV-24. The impressive AV-24 features incredible technology, including:

  • Luminar Iris LiDAR: 275m maximum range, 2cm range precision, 120-degree horizontal/26-degree vertical FOV, 30 fps scan rate
  • Continental ARS 548 RDI radar – 300m-1500m maximum range, 120-degree FOV
  • (6) total Allied Vision G-319C cameras – 2064 (H) x 1544 (V) max resolution, 300m-1100m spectral range, 37.6 fps max frame rate at full resolution
  • (4) GNSS (GPS) antennas
  • Cisco-powered networking, plus onboard edge computing
  • 4-piston racing engine (Honda K20C)
  • Max power – 488 hp at 6500 RPM
  • Max torque – 382 ft-lbs at 6100 RPM
  • ZF anti-stall centrifugal clutch
  • Bridgestone tires with racing slicks

Now I know that’s a lot of info to throw out there, especially for anyone who doesn’t fluently speak new-age racecar mechanic.

That said, the AV-24 clearly has a lot in store. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (taking place from July 11-14), the IAC’s AV-24 will take on quite a hillclimb as its piloted by software from the PoliMOVE-MSU team, with support from the UNIMORE Racing team.

In short, this looks to be a state-of-the-art robotics advancement.

Since its inception in 2021, the IAC and its university-led teams have set several world records in the vein of high-speed, ground-based autonomy. These include:

  • 192.2 mph autonomous land speed record
  • 180 mph highest on-track speed
  • 177 mph head-to-head on-track overtake speed
  • 9,000 total accumulated miles of autonomous racing

To date, the IAC has organized autonomous racing competitions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Texas Motor Speedway, and the Monza F1 Circuit (which I’ve been told is teasingly referred to as “The Temple of Speed”). Putting the autonomous pedal to the metal here seems to be about more than just “fast number gets faster” type of achievements; it illustrates the IAC’s role in bringing visibility to what kind of advancements are being worked on under the hood, so to speak (I’m sorry, the puns don’t’ stop) and highlights what’s possible in automotive tech, alternative fuels, and robotics capabilities being made possible by STEM programs, offering insights that may better inform the future of smart mobility done safely.

Safely, but with IAC flair.

“We are eager to undertake the unique challenges presented by the upcoming Goodwood Hillclimb event,” expressed Paul Mitchell, Chairman and President of the IAC. “Unlike the familiar ovals and F1 road courses, Goodwood’s Hillclimb will challenge the precision of sensor perception, GPS localization, vehicle dynamics, and path planning in new ways, providing a historical backdrop to showcase the future of high-speed autonomous mobility and the innovative university teams behind it.”

And Sara Correa, CMO for Bridgestone in the Americas and EMEA, stated that “what really matters,” in her words, “is working together to collaboratively develop and advance the future of autonomous mobility. Bridgestone is proud to partner with the IAC and its young engineers to test and improve autonomous technologies through opportunities like the Goodwood Hillclimb. Motorsports are the ultimate challenge, and the learnings we gather here can be applied to the sustainable solutions we develop for society and our customers.”

Learn more here.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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