Skip to main content

CES is hosting a high-speed autonomous car race today. Watch it here

Over the past few years, CES has slowly become more and more of a car show, but here in 2022, things are kicking up a notch. In addition to the usual slate of automotive tech exhibitors, this year’s CES is set to feature a fully autonomous car race.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), as it’s called, is today, January 7, at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and will feature competing university teams from all around the world. Much like Formula E was meant to boost the development of electric car technologies, the IAC is designed to advance autonomous vehicle tech and usher in a world where autonomous vehicles are both ubiquitous and safe.

If you’re interested in tuning in, the IAC’s organizers are going to livestream the event on their website, as well as on Twitch. It gets started at 3 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. PT).

“The IAC taps into prize competitions’ which have a long track record of focusing minds and leveraging competing teams and other third-party contributions to overcome complex challenges,” the organizers explain. “In particular, the IAC is inspired and advised by innovators who competed in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge, which put forth a $1 million award in 2004 that created the modern automated vehicle industry. Moreover, given its heavy presence of university-affiliated teams, the DARPA Grand Challenge inspired an entire generation of students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).”

The Autonomous Challenge @ CES Is Coming To Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Jan 7, 2022

Interestingly, the teams competing in the IAC don’t actually design their own cars. Instead, they merely design the algorithms that control them. The official racecar of the IAC is the Dallara AV-21, which is a classic indy racing car, but in this case, it has been retrofitted to make it capable of autonomous driving. The teams must create algorithms that will allow the car to drive around the track, pass competitors, and hopefully not crash into anything — which is a tall order when the cars are traveling at 180 miles per hour.

To make things even more exciting, this race in Vegas isn’t the first round of competition, either. The inaugural IAC ever happened back in October at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the German team took home a $1 million prize. And now that the teams have had an opportunity to test their software and dial everything in, the race in Vegas is set to be even more competitive.

Fingers crossed there won’t be any crashes. We really hope everything goes according to plan…

Ok, fine, who are we kidding!? Since there’s nobody in the cars, a crash would be both harmless and extremely entertaining, right? We can’t wait to see what happens!

Editors' Recommendations

Thor Benson
Thor Benson is an independent journalist who has contributed to Digital Trends, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, NBC News and…
CES 2021 and cars: What we expect in autonomous cars, EVs, and more
Sony Vision-S Concept Car

The automotive world has been turned on its ear in recent years, as the greatest car shows of the world dimmed beside and ultimately vanished into the penumbra of CES. CES has truly taken over the world of transportation: The world’s greatest gadget show has become one of the world’s biggest car shows, where dozens of car builders and accessory makers come to show off their latest wares.

In years past at CES, we’ve driven self-driving cars and tractors, been wowed by futuristic autonomous busses, and seen some of the biggest tech companies dip a tentative toe into the automotive world – I’m looking at you, Sony. What should we expect from CES 2021? Here are a few educated guesses at what to watch out for.
Autonomous cars galore
In years past, we’ve tested autonomous car tech from any number of companies. Last year I cruised around Vegas in a custom Lincoln MKZ, powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride, a handful of chips and a software stack that can fit into a box no bigger than your backpack and can tie together the cameras, communication systems, and navigation needed for autonomy. In 2018 we rode in an Aptiv-powered Lyft, which we found the best kind of boring.

Read more
Inside the light-speed race to build a solar-powered commuter car
Lightyear one solar car in Red Rock Canyon

The Lightyear One solar car in Red Rock Canyon. Photo courtesy of Lightyear. Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is not your typical tire-melting, gas-torching car race. Instead of a throttle-cranked spin around a blacktop oval, it’s an eco-minded endurance test through the Australian Outback.

Read more
Here’s what Bosch hopes to learn from deploying autonomous cars in San Jose
Bosch, Daimler autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The companies racing to deploy autonomous cars on the world's roads took a reality check in the 2010s, but multimillion-dollar development efforts remain ongoing across the automotive and tech industries. German supplier Bosch is notably moving full speed ahead with its quest to make driverless cars a reality. Kay Stepper, Bosch's senior vice president of automated driving, sat down with Digital Trends to talk about the state of autonomous driving in 2020, and what's next for the artificial intelligence technology that powers the prototypes it's testing.

Bosch has never made a car, so it brings its innovations to the market through partnerships with automakers. It chose Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler to test autonomous technology in real-world conditions via a ridesharing pilot program in San Jose, California, close to one of the company's research centers. Stepper explained that, while engineers learn a lot from software-based simulations, field testing is still crucial.

Read more