Abu Dhabi Yas Marina hosts 300kmph driverless car race with $2.25M prize

Asma Ahmed - | Autos

In a landmark event poised to redefine the landscape of motorsport, the Yas Marina Circuit is set to host a groundbreaking competition where four autonomous cars will race simultaneously.

Scheduled for Saturday, this event marks a historic moment as it introduces the Aspire Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL), featuring eight pioneering teams vying for a prize pool of $2.25 million.

Anticipation is high as more than 10,000 spectators are expected to gather to witness the inaugural edition of this competition, which promises to be the largest league of its kind globally. This event represents a significant milestone in the history of motorsport, symbolizing the convergence of cutting-edge technology and traditional racing.

The participating teams hail from diverse backgrounds, representing countries such as the US, Germany, Switzerland, China, Hungary, Singapore, Italy, and the UAE. Each team comprises coders and engineers who will have exclusive access to identical Dallara Super Formula SF23 cars, augmented with autonomous racing stacks developed by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII). These cars, recognized as the fastest open-wheel race cars globally, can achieve speeds of up to 300 km/h.

Four fully autonomous vehicles will be racing side by side on the course for the first time in this competition. The format of the event consists of pre-qualifying races and a final overtaking attempt to decide the winner. Furthermore, TII's autonomous vehicle will compete against Daniil Kvyat, a former Formula One driver, in an interesting race pitting AI against human cars.

Faisal Al Bannai, secretary general of the Advanced Technology Research Council, emphasizes the significance of this event in pushing the boundaries of technology and positioning Abu Dhabi as a global hub for innovation. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, highlights the commitment to integrating cutting-edge technology, including AI, to drive competitiveness and economic growth across sectors.

Beyond the racing action, an exclusive fan zone will offer a unique experience for families, motorsport enthusiasts, and tech aficionados. Activities such as VR experiences and an AI museum will immerse guests in the world of cutting-edge technology.

The A2RL event goes beyond mere competition; it serves as a platform for testing and optimizing autonomous vehicle technologies, ultimately enhancing safety and reliability on public roads. Through partnerships with local and international stakeholders, the organizers aim to bring the future of mobility closer to reality.

The involvement of young students in the A2RL STEM Competition underscores the commitment to nurturing the next generation of innovators. The night will conclude with a series of festivities, including a podium ceremony, fireworks, a drone show, and an after-show concert, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all attendees.

Fans from all around the world will be able to watch the race live on many streaming platforms, allowing even those who can't make it to the starting line to feel like they were there. With the motorsport world on the edge of its seat, is gearing up for a historic event that will shape racing and technology in the years to come.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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