Artificial intelligence and autonomous driving: motorsport runs in the dark

The Dallara AV-21 single-seater of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action on the racetrack in the dark, identifiable only by strips of LED lights

Autonomous driving: the Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway
The Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway guided by GPS and LIDAR in a front frame

No headlights, no runway lights, no driver.

The Dallara AV-21 single-seater ofIndy Autonomous Challenge it is in fact notoriously managed by Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

It is the software that makes all the decisions, and so the car was capable of a miracle that only certain nocturnal animals can achieve.

The Bavarian team IAC TUM was able to show how the most advanced self-driving racing car works, and they did so in complete darkness at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Some strips of LED lights applied to the bodywork highlight, in a film made for the occasion in January 2022, the position of the racing car of the manufacturer from Varano de' Melegari in action at high speed in pitch darkness, creating a true miracle of the technique.

In Nevada the car drove "blind" without any problems, with a perfect start and finish, and managed to do so at an average of 100 miles per hour, equivalent to 160 km per hour.

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Autonomous driving: the Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway
The Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway guided by GPS and LIDAR in a rear frame

Thanks to the innovative LIDAR sensors a 3D photograph of the surrounding environment every 50 milliseconds

Localization is in fact the basic building block without which the car wouldn't know where it is and couldn't move, but on the US oval everything worked well.

When high-precision GPS works perfectly, the problem is relatively simple, but LIDAR is increasingly making the difference in autonomous driving.

Acronym from the English Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging, it is a sensor that follows a complete 360 ​​degree scan, with also 30 vertical degrees, performing a complete 3D photograph of the environment every 50 milliseconds.

LIDARs are evolving rapidly. They are the most expensive laser sensors at present, but also the most sophisticated to be used in autonomous driving, and they have fulfilled their function.

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Autonomous driving: the Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway
The Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway guided by GPS and LIDAR in a side frame

In April 2023 the record speed of 311,9 km per hour on the tape at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

On April 27, 2023, history was made.

On the runway of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the longest in the world (more than 5 km) and iconic site of the Space Shuttle launch and landing structure, the Dallara AV-21 of the Polytechnic of Milan had broken the last record worldwide, as a fully autonomous driving car.

Winning the "Autonomous Challenge" in Las Vegas, in January 2023, was therefore not enough for the PoliMOVE team, committed to transforming algorithms into perfect pilots.

And while "AstroSamantha" left for the International Space Station, the single-seater, named Minerva in honor of Cristoforetti's mission, the Emilian single-seater shattered a record that had stood since 2019, reaching 309,3 km/h.

After two days of testing, great satisfaction came for Professor Sergio Savaresi, team leader of the project, and for Filippo Parravicini, Alberto Lucchini, Andrea Ticozzi, Andrea Marcer and Cole Frederick who are the members of that working group, when the average of the two passages in opposite directions (as per Guinness World Record regulation) reached 309,3 km/h

The fastest passage had even broken through the 310 km/h barrier, with a splendid 311,9 km/h.

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The fifty years of Dallara Automobili told by the founder Gian Paolo, by the CEO Andrea Pontremoli as well as in images and videos

Autonomous driving: the Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway
The Dallara AV-21 of the Indy Autonomous Challenge in action in the dark on the Las Vegas Motor Spedway guided by GPS and LIDAR in a front frame