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TUM Races to Victory at ASPIRE's Inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League at Yas Marina Circuit
[April 28, 2024]

TUM Races to Victory at ASPIRE's Inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League at Yas Marina Circuit

TUM (Technical University of Munich) from Germany, claimed victory at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL), at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday (April 27). As the cars lined up on the grid, with antennae, sensors, AI capabilities, and drive-by-wire systems instead of human drivers, eight teams vied with one another over two days of races and challenges. TUM beat back the competition with its coding and engineering skills in a world-first, four-car race finale, to claim the winner's share of US$2.25 million prize pot.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

TUM Races to Victory at ASPIRE's Inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League at Yas Marina Circuit - (Photo: AETOSWire)

TUM Races to Victory at ASPIRE's Inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League at Yas Marina Circuit - (Photo: AETOSWire)

Bringing a science experiment to the racetrack, the inaugural race pushed the boundaries of autonomous technology while adding entertainment value to extreme sports at an unprecedented scale. A2RL drew over 10,000 spectators at the circuit and captured the attention of over 600,000 online viewers in just 12 hours. Organized by ASPIRE, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), A2RL fuses extreme autonomous racing and AI to accelerate the global development of autonomous systems and technologies.

Following months of meticulous preparation spent refining driving AI algoithms in simulations, A2RL's customized Dallara Super Formula SF23 cars tested the limits of human ingenuity and AI capability. Each team utilized an identical Super Formula race car - the fastest open-wheel race car in the world after Formula One- adapted for autonomous racing by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a sister company of ASPIRE.

Teams faced a complex task in coding. From understanding grip levels, managing tire temperatures, predicting opponent movements, performing successful overtakes, and operating the SF23 right at the limit of grip, the AI needed to perform all the things that racing drivers do intuitively. Additionally, with four autonomous cars racing on the track simultaneously, it marked a world-first attempt that added another layer of challenge.

In a last-lap shootout, the German outfit TUM snatched first place in a daring overtake when front-running Italian team UNIMORE slowed down and came to a stop on the track. The team was congratulated on the racetrack by H.H. Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed, who presented the Championship Trophy, along with H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General, ATRC, and Strategic Research & Advanced Technology Affairs Advisor to the UAE President.

Simon Hoffmann, Team Principal, said: "This event has been nothing short of extraordinary, and the finale was our defining moment. We are absolutely thrilled with the outcome; it speaks volumes about our collective engineering prowess, coding expertise, and sheer determination. It's a testament to the incredible power of AI driving the evolution of autonomous mobility into the future!"

Spectators also enjoyed the riveting AI versus Human Race, where the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), pitted its autonomous car against renowned Formula One driver Daniil Kvyat. While Kvyat managed to hold his own and edge past his autonomous adversary by 10.38 secs, the spectacular 45-minute race highlighted just how close the autonomous race car performs against a human driver.

H.E. Al Bannai, said: "Through the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League, we've sparked a race revolution. Showcasing fully autonomous racecars competing wheel-to-wheel, we've redefined the UAE's role in innovation and set a bold precedent for global mobility. This event isn't just a race; it's a transformative moment where technology, imagination, and ambition converge. A2RL serves as a beacon, inspiring the next generation through physical and virtual realities, while shaping a future where the impossible becomes achievable."

H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Group MD & CEO of ADNOC, as Title Sponsor, said: "Advances in artificial intelligence promise to transform every industry. The A2RL demonstrates the application of AI and as title sponsor, ADNOC is proud to help push the frontiers of science and innovation."

Stephane Timpano, CEO of ASPIRE, said: "The launch of A2RL has reshaped the landscape of sports and technology, leaving a lasting impact for years to come. Moving forward, we're broadening our focus to include different vehicle types, while actively attracting top talent worldwide to showcase their mettle."

On the sidelines of the main event, the A2RL STEM Challenge for high-school and undergrad students between the ages of 14 and 21 drew the participation of 18 local schools, in addition to an international entry from the Boys and Girls Club from Southeastern Michigan, to showcase their knowledge, skills, and innovation by racing 1:8 scale autonomous cars. The winner of the A2RL STEM Challenge was Heriot-Watt University.

A2RL pioneered the integration of mixed and virtual reality elements for the first time in autonomous racing. It gave each of the eight finalist teams a unique avatar persona and incorporated state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) technology ahead of F1 implementation, igniting enthusiastic fan experience both online and offline. Fans at the event in Yas Marina Circuit got to enjoy insightful STEM workshops, intriguing VR challenges, Gran Turismo simulators, doodle cars, and a Raceum AI Museum, among other activities. The inaugural event concluded with a spectacular display of fireworks and drones, illuminating the iconic Yas Marina Circuit.

A2RL 2024 was successfully supported by ADNOC as Title Sponsor, and leading partners, including Du, DMT, AWS, and Mubadala, who played pivotal roles in shaping the event's trajectory.

Details of the eight participating teams and other updates can be found at

Source: AETOSWire

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