Last weekend, University of Waterloo students on a multi-school autonomous racing team achieved a personal best speed of 173.8 kph at a race on the Monza F1 Circuit in Milan, Italy.
The race, which featured five teams with members from universities around the world, was the Waterloo students’ fifth race, and the first on a road course rather than a banked oval track.
The Italian race is the latest competition in the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a collaboration between public-private organizers and academic institutions created in 2019 to challenge university students to invent a “new generation of automated vehicle software” in order “to run fully autonomous racecars.” Every team purchases the same multi-million dollar car – the Dallara AV-21 – and then competes to create the best software to drive it.
“It’s a software race, not a hardware race,” explains Connor Kirby, a BBA and BMath student on the team. “We’re not allowed to modify the engine or tires or anything like that.”