Video: new world speed record for a self-driving race car

One of the cars participating in the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) reached 180 mph at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On January 8, the second edition of the driverless race known as the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), organized by the Energy Systems Network, was held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Nevada). The goal of the nine participants was to beat the speed record for a fully self-driving race car. The challenge was a success.

The PoliMOVE car, developed by the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and the University of Alabama, reached 180 mph. This is the new world record for a driverless race car.

This is not the first record broken by PoliMOVE. In 2022, the team set the global speed record for a conventional autonomous - non-racing - vehicle at Kennedy Space Center by cruising at 192 mph.

After the IAC celebration, Sergio Savaresi, the team leader, congratulated his teammates on their new achievement:

Today was a major step forward in speed, in the complexity of the race, and in overcoming challenging head-to-head situations.

There is room for improvement

The developers still have work to do. This edition of the IAC was the first time that two race cars competed on the track at the same time and there were some mishaps during the race.

The main problem that self-driving race cars have been subjected to is coming across another vehicle on the track and the complications that come with it: going around a curve, high speeds, passing and making it around the layout of the track. Paul Mitchell, IAC president, pointed out that this edition was a test to further develop these model cars:

We’re harnessing the power of head-to-head competition to push and test the limits of autonomous driving to further the state-of-the art technology in safety and performance of automated vehicles, and today we snagged yet another world record.