An autonomous car programmed by a Carnegie Mellon University student team will race for the first time Sept. 24-25 when Roborace, an international competition for autonomous vehicles (AVs), begins its season on the island of Anglesey in Wales.
In Roborace, each team prepares their own artificial intelligence algorithms to control their race car, but all of the teams use identically prepared AVs, compute platforms and venues. To prepare for this month's race, the CMU team spent the summer working on the fundamentals of driving and on building an optimal driving path. But this week was the first time they had the chance to run their computer code on a hardware simulator.
"Our minimum goal is to be able to get the car to start driving crash-free for now," said Anirudh Koul, an alumnus of the Language Technologies Institute's Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS) program and the team's coach. But the CMU team, the first U.S. team in Roborace, is confident that it will soon be competitive with other teams that have previous experience in the racing series.
"We are true to the CMU spirit — underpromise, overdeliver," Koul added.
Roborace delayed its season because of COVID-19 concerns. Its new season now includes 12 races hosted over six events. No spectators will be allowed for safety reasons and the teams can operate their cars remotely if they can't travel to the race courses. The races will be livestreamed on Twitch. Times and dates are subject to change, but fans will be notified if they follow Roborace on Twitch.