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HomeSportAutonomous Racing League Drivers Pit Against F1 Driver Daniil Kvyat

Autonomous Racing League Drivers Pit Against F1 Driver Daniil Kvyat

Abu Dhabi is set to welcome 10,000 spectators to witness the inaugural ASPIRE Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL) at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit this Saturday 27 April, 2024.

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Abu Dhabi is set to welcome 10,000 spectators to witness the inaugural ASPIRE Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL) at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit this Saturday 27 April, 2024.

This brand-new autonomous racing competition marks a significant milestone in motorsport history, billed as the largest league of its kind globally.

However organizer of A2RL, ASPIRE CEO Stephane Timpano says that A2RL is more than just a race.

“It’s a platform for testing and optimizing autonomous vehicle technologies, enhancing safety and reliability on public roads. With the support of local and international partners, we’re bringing the mobility future – closer. This race has attracted a diverse array of sponsors, each contributing their expertise and resources to ensure the success of the development of the cutting-edge autonomized cars. Leading partners, such as Du, DMT, AWS, and Mubadala, have played pivotal roles in shaping the event’s trajectory, with media partners such Motorsports, Inc. Arabia, FastCompany Middle East, and What’s On, amplifying A2RL’s visibility,” says Timpano.

Eight teams are slated to compete: Code19 Racing (one of the first independent autonomous racing entity from the USA), Constructor University (based in Germany and Switzerland), Fly Eagle (representing Beijing Institute of Technology from China and Khalifa University from the UAE), HUMDA Lab (a member of the Széchenyi István University Group from Hungary), KINETIZ (a collaboration between Singapore Nanyang Technological University and Kintsugi based in the UAE), PoliMOVE (representing Politecnico di Milano from Italy), UNIMORE (also from Italy – University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), and Technical University of Munich – TUM (from Germany), vying for a substantial prize purse of USD 2.25 million.

The participating teams of coders and engineers will each have exclusive access to identical Dallara Super Formula SF23 cars, made possible through a partnership with Japan Race Promotions. These cars will be autonomized with autonomous racing stacks developed and integrated by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII).

The sole variable lies in how each team utilizes their coding skills, AI algorithms, and machine learning software development expertise to teach their cars how to drive. Currently recognized as the fastest open-wheel race car in the world after Formula One, these cars can reach speeds of up to 300 km/h.

For the first time, the race format is poised to feature four autonomous cars driving on the racetrack simultaneously – a feat never before attempted. In a series of pre-qualifying races, the finale will showcase the top performers from the Lap Test and Speed Test, advancing to a final Overtaking Challenge to determine the ultimate winner. Additionally, an AI vs Human car race will unfold, with the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) embracing the challenge of pitting their autonomous car against former F1 driver – Daniil Kvyat. TII will aim to get as close as possible to the human lap time and will also demonstrate the autonomous car’s ability to drive without GPS assistance.

Commenting on the race, Advanced Technology Research Council Secretary General H.E. Faisal Al Bannai says this event is a paradigm shift for AI in sports.

“In pushing the boundaries of technology under extreme conditions, we uncover new frontiers in science. This reimagined racing paradigm harnesses the pinnacle of coding skills, AI algorithms, and software development prowess — the very skill sets of the future. By leveraging these capabilities, we pave a path at the forefront of research and development, propelling Abu Dhabi to become a pivotal global hub for innovation,” says Al Bannai.

Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Group MD & CEO of ADNOC H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber says that ADNOC has come on board as title sponsor, providing crucial support, underscoring the widespread enthusiasm for advancing autonomous racing technology.

“As we navigate the path to UAE’s industrial future, our commitment to in-country value and technological advancement stands unwavering. A2RL epitomizes our dedication to integrating cutting-edge technology including AI, driving competitiveness and economic growth across sectors. For decades, ADNOC has invested in the latest technology and innovation – from the control room, to the board room – to deliver the modern energy that powers our lives,” says Al Jaber.

Technical partners, including Dallara, Danisi Engineering, Meccanica 42, Kistler, Seyond, Eventagrate, Live in Five, Focal Point VR and Vislink, have lent their specialized knowledge to elevate the event’s innovation and performance standards.

An exclusive Fan Zone will offer tailored activities, where guests can immerse themselves in cutting-edge tech and gaming, including a captivating VR zone and the AI museum – Raceum.

On 27 April 16:00 (GST), young students from the A2RL STEM Competition will showcase their coding skills on 1:8 scale autonomous racing cars, with 18 schools competing to add excitement.

The evening will close with a podium ceremony for the winners, fireworks, a drone show, and an after-show concert with DJ Andre Soueid.

Update from the Editor: The Technical University of Munich from Germany, claimed victory on Saturday. TUM beat back the competition with its coding and engineering skills to win the USD 2.25 million prize pot. With over 10,000 spectators and 750,000 online viewers, history was made as A2RL’s maiden event unfolded! Watch the highlights here

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