The R14.5 million car race with a catch — no drivers allowed

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host its first-ever race featuring autonomous vehicles, the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), due to take place on 23 October 2021.

Nine teams will compete for the $1 million (R14,495,100) prize in an 80km race, consisting of 20 four-kilometre laps, and the teams can only enter one vehicle each — with no backups available.

Communication between the teams in the pit lane and their vehicles will be cut off after the race starts. From then, the cars will be operated solely by artificial intelligence and control software.

Winning universities will use the prize money to strengthen education and advance research missions at their respective institutions.

Travelling at speeds of up to 290kmph, the cars will have no drivers and must be based on open-source architectures.

The nine teams are finalists from an original pool of 30 entrants and will represent 21 universities and their respective countries.

No South African institutions were on the list of entrants.

The event is intended to advance the safety and speed of autonomous vehicles and raise awareness of the transformative benefits automation can provide humankind.

Organisers of the IAC include the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Cisco, and Energy Systems Network.

Several politicians, industry leaders, and celebrities are expected to attend the event.

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The R14.5 million car race with a catch — no drivers allowed