Race Car Breaks Driverless Speed Record at 192 MPH

Not entirely sure how this is relevant for passenger or racing applications, but cool nonetheless.
Instagram | @polimoveracingteam

An Indy Autonomous Challenge team claims to have set the land speed record for a driverless car by sending a modified Indy Lights Dallara down the runway at NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center.

The car used, a Dallara AV-21—based on the current Indy Lights Dallara IL-15—was prepared by PoliMOVE, a team formed by technical colleges Politecnico di Milano and the University of Alabama. Using an engine 30 percent more powerful than previously equipped to the car (its output was not specified), the car is said to have exceeded the 175.41 mph clocked by a Roborace vehicle in September 2019, achieving a top speed of 192.2 mph.

It’s unclear at this time whether the speed has been independently verified, though dispute seems unlikely as it’s not like there are many people out contesting driverless speed records. That of course is because interest in autonomous racing is tough to kindle, as the human story takes place entirely off-track, whereas the spectacle of motorsport occurs on the opposite side of the pit wall.

Additionally, this accomplishment’s link to the Indy Autonomous Challenge’s stated goal of expediting vehicular autonomy is at best tenuous—it’s not clear how making a car do 192 mph in a straight line helps develop such technologies. It’s not a situation cars, autonomous or otherwise, tend to find themselves in outside racetracks, whether in commercial or passenger applications. In the end, the real value in PoliMOVE’s driverless speed record is the same as that as all speed records: To just send it. And we can all applaud that.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com