New land speed record set by autonomous Indy race car at Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A team of engineers and programmers set a new autonomous land speed record at Kennedy Space Center, reaching a speed of nearly 200 miles per hour.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is an effort that challenges university students around the world to imagine and invent a new generation of automated vehicle software to run fully autonomous race cars.

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The IAC was held on Oct. 23, 2021, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 21 universities from nine countries forming nine teams competed for the $1 million grand prize.

Last week, team PoliMOVE from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and the University of Alabama (USA), set a new land speed world record of 192.2 miles per hour at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

“The Autonomous Challenge at CES in January pushed our racecars to their limits and maxed out what was possible at the time,” said Paul Mitchell, president, Indy Autonomous Challenge. “Yet here we are just four months later, in another iconic venue, with an upgraded engine package setting yet another world record.”

According to an IAC new release, the upgraded engine package, capable of delivering 30% more horsepower than previous models, will be on all IAC race cars moving forward.

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Future competitions will be announced in the coming months.

“Yesterday we saw what the future holds for autonomous vehicles and credit goes to the entire PoliMOVE team, especially Dr. Brandon Dixon of the University of Alabama,” said Prof. Sergio Savaresi, team lead of Politecnico di Milano. “We were running a car operating on algorithms alone, where precision is paramount, and any small prediction error could have created a completely different outcome. This test run was exhilarating, and we are thrilled with the world record, but we’re also excited by the fact that this data will be made available to all, and the industry will benefit from our work and learnings.”

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The press release states, “The primary goal of the IAC is to solve real world problems by advancing technology that will speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Pushing limits for the entire autonomous community and helping to increase safety and performance is of critical importance, not only in motorsports, but across all modes of commercial transportation.”

See video of record breaking run above.

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