Self driving cars rev their engines for their own Indy 500 race

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is putting a new spin on its classic high-speed car race.

In 2021, it will host the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition where student teams work to develop self-driving cars that can operate at speeds of 200 mph, maneuver the track and outrace their opponents…

…two Pittsburgh companies are serving as sponsors for the event: Canonsburg-based Ansys, a software company that makes simulation technology, and Aptiv, an automotive company that is building self-driving cars in Hazelwood Green.

Among the 31 participating teams from 37 universities is a 30-person group from the University of Pittsburgh made up of mostly undergraduate students involved in the school’s robotics and automation club.

Carnegie Mellon University, which is widely known for its work in autonomous technology, is not participating in the Indy Autonomous Challenge. But, the school is represented in a separate international autonomous vehicle challenge — the Roborace series. This competition is also designed to push the development of autonomous software and autonomous driving.

CMU will be the first U.S. team to participate in the series and anticipates competing later this year.