UH heads into driverless car race with top-ranked momentum
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii is making history within the driverless vehicle space as its top-ranked team competes in the Autonomous Challenge at CES for a second year.
After a second-place finish during their first year at the competition, the UH team “UH AI Racing Tech” is back, and one of nine teams from six countries representing 18 universities that will compete in the single elimination event on Saturday, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The event will begin with time trails and elimination rounds at 8 a.m. (HST).
Then the semifinal and final rounds will be broadcast live from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (HST) on the Indy Autonomous Challenge website.
Once the time trials are completed, the remaining teams will race head-to-head, reaching speeds of more than 190 mph, explains UH in a statement.
While driving these high speeds, AV-21 race cars are programmed to alternate between playing the role of leader (defender) and passer/follower (attacker). Passes will be attempted at increasing speeds until one or both cars are unable to successfully complete a pass.
UH AI Racing Tech enters this year’s event as the top ranked United States team after their second place finish to the PoliMOVE team out of Italy during the November 2022 Autonomous Challenge @ CES.
“The team has established itself as a serious competitor in this competition,” UH AI Racing Tech Team Principal Gary Passon said. “We had a few things break our way in the last race. But, races are races and so if you’re not in it, you can’t win it. That gave us a lot of confidence coming into the Las Vegas event. We’re looking forward to remaining a contender in this event and we made some great progress between the two competitions.”
The UH AI Racing Tech team was launched out of a spring 2020 UH Maui College autonomous vehicle technology class. It started small from scaled vehicles, to go-kart-sized and now to full-sized racing cars.
As the team grew, they continued to collaborate with students and faculty from UH Mānoa’s College of Engineering, UC San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkeley. UH says that the collaboration is working to enrich the skills and resources of the schools, as well as to demonstrate the good will the various campuses have for each other.
According to Passon, safety is paramount for autonomous cars and racing. If the team can make fast, intelligent and capable decisions, and be able to do that at 200 mph, that will put their work at the forefront of the type of research that is going to fuel the self-driving cars of tomorrow.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do and the people we’ve been able to work with,” Passon said. “Hopefully our work and contributions will be an important part of building safer vehicles for everyone.”
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