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Making History: ASPIRE to Launch Inaugural ‘Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League’ Redefining Future of Extreme Sport on April 27

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On Saturday, April 27th, Abu Dhabi will host a groundbreaking event, welcoming 10,000 spectators to witness the inaugural ASPIRE Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League (A2RL) at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit. This brand-new autonomous racing competition marks a significant milestone in motorsport history, billed as the largest league of its kind globally.

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Making History: ASPIRE to Launch Inaugural ‘Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League’ Redefining Future of Extreme Sport on April 27 (Photo: AETOSWire)

Eight teams will compete: Code19 Racing (one of the first independent autonomous racing entity from the USA), Constructor University (based in Germany and Switzerland), Fly Eagle (representing Beijing Institute of Technology from China and Khalifa University from the UAE), HUMDA Lab (a member of the Széchenyi István University Group from Hungary), KINETIZ (a collaboration between Singapore Nanyang Technological University and Kintsugi based in the UAE), PoliMOVE (representing Politecnico di Milano from Italy), UNIMORE (also from Italy - University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), and Technical University of Munich - TUM (from Germany), vying for a substantial prize purse of US$ 2.25 million.

The participating teams of coders and engineers will each have exclusive access to identical Dallara Super Formula SF23 cars, made possible through a partnership with Japan Race Promotions. These cars will be autonomized with autonomous racing stacks developed and integrated by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII). The sole variable lies in how each team utilizes their coding skills, AI algorithms, and machine learning software development expertise to teach their cars how to drive. Currently recognized as the fastest open-wheel race car in the world after Formula One, these cars can reach speeds of up to 300 km/h.

For the first time, the race format is poised to feature four autonomous cars driving on the racetrack simultaneously – a feat never before attempted. In a series of pre-qualifying races, the finale will showcase the top performers from the Lap Test and Speed Test, advancing to a final Overtaking Challenge to determine the ultimate winner. Additionally, an AI vs Human car race will unfold, with the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) embracing the electrifying challenge of pitting their autonomous car against former F1 driver – Daniil Kvyat. TII will aim to get as close as possible to the human lap time and will also demonstrate the autonomous car’s ability to drive without GPS assistance.

H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council - ASPIRE’s parent entity, and Advisor to the UAE President on Strategic Research and Advanced Technology Affairs, said: "In pushing the boundaries of technology under extreme conditions, we uncover new frontiers in science. This reimagined racing paradigm harnesses the pinnacle of coding skills, AI algorithms, and software development prowess — the very skill sets of the future. By leveraging these capabilities, we pave a path at the forefront of research and development, propelling Abu Dhabi to become a pivotal global hub for innovation."

ADNOC has come on board as title sponsor, providing crucial support, underscoring the widespread enthusiasm for advancing autonomous racing technology. H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Group MD & CEO of ADNOC, added: "As we navigate the path to UAE's industrial future, our commitment to in-country value and technological advancement stands unwavering. A2RL epitomizes our dedication to integrating cutting-edge technology including AI, driving competitiveness and economic growth across sectors. For decades, ADNOC has invested in the latest technology and innovation – from the control room, to the board room - to deliver the modern energy that powers our lives."

Organizer of A2RL, ASPIRE CEO Stephane Timpano said: "A2RL is more than just a race — it's a platform for testing and optimizing autonomous vehicle technologies, enhancing safety and reliability on public roads. With the support of local and international partners, we're bringing the mobility future - closer." The inaugural race has attracted a diverse array of sponsors, each contributing their expertise and resources to ensure the success of the development of the cutting-edge autonomized cars. Leading partners, such as Du, DMT, AWS, and Mubadala, have played pivotal roles in shaping the event’s trajectory, with media partners such Motorsports, Inc. Arabia, FastCompany Middle East, and What’s On, amplifying A2RL’s visibility.

Technical partners, including Dallara, Danisi Engineering, Meccanica 42, Kistler, Seyond, Eventagrate, Live in Five, Focal Point VR and Vislink, have lent their specialized knowledge to elevate the event's innovation and performance standards.

An exclusive Fan Zone promises an elevated experience for families, motorsport fans, and tech enthusiasts alike. With tailored activities, guests can immerse themselves in cutting-edge tech and gaming, including a captivating VR zone and the AI museum – Raceum. From 16:00 (GST) on April 27, young students from the A2RL STEM Competition will showcase their coding skills on 1:8 scale autonomous racing cars, with 18 schools competing to add excitement. The night concludes at 23:00 (GST), with activities including a podium ceremony for the winners, fireworks, a drone show, and an after-show concert with DJ Andre Soueid.

For those unable to attend in person, the excitement of Race Day will be accessible through various live streaming channels, including A2RL’s official YouTube and Twitch channels, motorsport.tv and the A2RL app. Interested parties are invited to visit the A2RL website and monitor social media channels for updates regarding the program schedule and details on viewing the race in their respective regions.

The inaugural A2RL event is part of Abu Dhabi Mobility Week, running from April 24 to May 1.

Source: AETOSWire

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