UH to participate in driverless car racing event at the Consumer Electronics Show

The University of Hawaii will make history once again by participating in the world’s first autonomous motor racing competition. EUH AI Racing technology, which includes students and faculty from EUH and the University of California, San Diego, travels to Las Vegas for the Autonomous Challenge @ THOSE (Consumer Electronics Show) Jan. 7. Nine teams from eight countries representing 19 universities will compete in the knockout competition, with the winner taking home over $ 200,000.

race car

EUH AI Racing Tech hopes to improve on its 6th place in October at the Indy Autonomous Challenge, the first-ever autonomous racing car event, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It was a very important result for us, but a result that we think we can improve and complement,” said EUH AI Racing Tech Team Leader Gary Passon. “This event, we are really focused on how we improve our reliability and whereabouts information and in doing so, be able to move up the competitive ranks.”

In self-driving car racing, the driver is replaced by a variety of sensors that act as the vehicle’s eyes and ears. These are supported by a powerful computer which helps to make the many path planning, tactical and strategic decisions necessary to deliver the maximum performance of the vehicle. The system is an example of artificial intelligence, which forces engineers to create algorithms to program the car to generate human behaviors and interpret complex sensor data.

In the Indianapolis competition, the teams raced individually for the fastest time. Each car had to navigate the course and its stationary environment efficiently. The next competition at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will pit one car against another car simultaneously on the same track. They will have to overtake the other car several times during the race. The cars will not only have to navigate autonomously on the track itself, but also locate and overtake another moving vehicle. The teams will start the competition individually for the ranking, then it will be a simple elimination to determine a winner.

“Two cars will come out at the same time and they will try to pass each other so ‘A’ will try to pass ‘B’ and ‘B’ will try to pass ‘A’,” said Passon. “Speeds will always increase, so teams have to prepare differently for this than they did for the challenge in Indianapolis, which was mainly against its own abilities.”

Passon added: “It’s a much more difficult challenge for the teams and the time between the two events is quite short, so the teams are working really hard to prepare themselves to be able to meet these requirements for this particular version.”

The race will be broadcast live on the Autonomous Challenge @ THOSE website and on Twitch @IndyAChallenge. Coverage should begin at 10:00 a.m. (HST) on January 7. All the teams that raced in Indianapolis will also compete in Las Vegas, including TUM Autonomous Motorsport of Germany, which won the first million dollar prize.

Foundation built on the island of the valley

people standing next to a car on a racing track

EUH AI Racing Tech was created thanks to a EUH Maui College course in spring 2020 on autonomous vehicle technology. Passon, the course instructor, partnered with EUH by Manoa College of Engineering and experts from UC San Diego to provide additional expertise and provide students with a hands-on learning experience.

Passon met and worked with UC San Diego professor Jack Silberman on qualifying for the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which consisted of a thorough process, including testing his software in an advanced simulation system against other teams in May 2021. Silberman said that the partnership has been extremely beneficial and has many students lining up to eventually be part of the program.

“It has been an incredible partnership and collaboration,” said Passon. “The talent base and skills that Jack and his team brought to the event clearly help ensure that our joint effort is positioned for the medium to long term. We do not see this event as a one-off event, but just another important step in the lasting collaboration between universities and between Jack and me on the development of this type of programs.

the EUH AI The Racing Tech team is supported by EUH Assistant Professors at Maui College Elisabeth dubuit and Jung Park, EUH Assistant professors Mānoa Zhuoyuan song and Il Yong Chun, as well as the old EUH researcher in Manoa Chris Battista, spring 2021 mechanical Engineering former student Daryll suyat, junior in mechanical engineering Lillian shibata, and other EUH Students and graduates of Mānoa. He also proudly works with many private sector partners, as well as other experts and students from UC San Diego and UC Berkeley.

The team is also supported by several local companies and others in the industry including the Maui Robotic Vehicle Association, St. Antoine school STEM program, VectorAero SARL, New Eagle SARL, ADLINK, Luxonis, PointOneNav, Emlid, RockWestComposites and many more.

Follow updates on the EUH AI Racing Tech Twitter page.

-Through Marc Arakaki

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