University of Pittsburgh Woman Leads Indy Autonomous Challenge Team Into Historic Competition

Nayana Suvarna has several unique distinctions heading into Saturday’s Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Suvarna is the lone female captain of the nine teams entered in the competition, as well as being the only undergrad captain (actually, co-captain) and the youngest (22 years old) team captain overall.

But there’s one distinction that is perhaps the biggest irony of all.

In a competition utilizing specially-prepared driver-less Indy Lights cars that are expected to exceed 100 mph, Suvarna, a senior engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh who has spent the last two years working on the four-wheeled autonomous vehicle, doesn’t even have a driver’s license…

But even without a driver’s license, Suvarna is at the helm of one of the most significant contenders in the Challenge. Her teammates come from some of the most prolific technological schools in the world, including MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology and Canada’s University of Waterloo.