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Indy Autonomous Challenge teams to compete again, this time in Las Vegas

Samantha Horton / IPB News

Teams that competed in the Indy Autonomous Challenge last October will be racing their cars at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this month. Challenge organizers hope the event will showcase Indiana’s commitment to autonomous technology development. 

Teams will showcase self-driving cars during the Consumer Technology Association’s annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

The October challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway drew students from all over the world to program an autonomous race car. After months of work, the previously billed head-to-head race was adjusted to have only one car on the track at a time. The winner was the car that averaged the fastest laps.

Energy Systems Network (ESN) President Paul Mitchell said the challenge in Las Vegas will take the next step. Two teams will have their vehicles on the track simultaneously.

“What we mean is, you know, two teams on the track at the same time, passing each other at increasingly higher speeds,” said Mitchell. “So you know, one car passes the lead car and then the lead car tries to pass that car and the speeds increase and the complexity increases. Until one can't go further, right? It's almost like a game of chicken, if you will, with autonomous race cars.”

ESN along with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and other organizations from the state will make up a delegation at the conference. 

Mitchell said the goal of the challenge and panel discussions at CES is to tell the world that cutting-edge autonomous technology is being developed in Indiana.

“Indiana is at the forefront of innovation in autonomous mobility,” he said. “And the Indy Autonomous Challenge really took a level of interest and made it globally relevant. And brought in some of the best minds around the world and attracted some of the top suppliers and industry leaders.”

The competition is set for Jan. 7 with in-person and virtual options to watch.

Mitchell said he hopes there will be future events in 2022 and beyond working towards having multiple cars race head-to-head.

Contact reporter Samantha at or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.