VNR: UH to compete in history-making driverless car racing event at CES

University of Hawaiʻi
Marc Arakaki, (808) 228-3215
Content Producer, UH Communications
Posted: Jan 5, 2022

Link to video and sound (details below):

WHAT: The University of Hawaiʻi will make history competing in the world’s first ever head-to-head autonomous car racing competition. The Autonomous Challenge @ CES (Consumer Electronics Show) will be on January 7 in Las Vegas. UH AI Racing Tech is one of nine teams from eight countries representing 19 universities competing in the single elimination contest, with the winner taking home more than $200,000.

The race will be live streamed on the Autonomous Challenge @ CES website and on Twitch @IndyAChallenge. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (HST).

UH AI Racing Tech hopes to improve on its 6th place finish at the Indy Autonomous Challenge—the first ever autonomous race car event—held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 23, 2021.

HOW: In autonomous car racing, the driver is replaced with a variety of sensors that act as the eyes and ears of the vehicle. These are supported by a powerful computer that helps to perform the many path planning, tactical and strategic decisions needed to provide the maximum performance from the vehicle. The system is an example of artificial intelligence, which requires engineers to create algorithms to program the car to generate human-like behaviors and interpret complex sensor data. 

At the Indianapolis competition, teams raced individually for the best time. Each car needed to effectively navigate the course and its stationary surroundings. The upcoming competition at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will pit one car against another car simultaneously on the same track. They will have to pass the other car multiple times during the race. The cars will not only have to autonomously navigate the track itself, but locate and pass another moving vehicle. Teams will begin the competition individually for seeding and then it will be single elimination to determine a winner.

WHO: UH AI Racing Tech comprises students and faculty from UH and the University of California, San Diego.

Additional details:



Shots of UH AI Racing Tech team at Indy Autonomous Challenge in October



Gary Passon, UH AI Racing Tech team principal


“We were excited to be able to finish the Indianapolis version of the IAC competition in 6th place. That was a very significant result for us, but one we feel we can do more with.”


“This is the first event and the first autonomous event that I think any of us are aware of where they’ll be head to head passing, so two cars will go out at the same time and in order, they will attempt to pass each other.”