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World's first AI-controlled car race takes place for £1.9m in Abu Dhabi with shocking results

World's first AI-controlled car race takes place for £1.9m in Abu Dhabi with shocking results

The first Al-controlled race took place in Abu Dhabi.

The world’s first AI-controlled car race took place in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and it produced some bizarre results.

Yas Marina Circuit, the famous track where the Formula 1 season usually finishes, held the inaugural Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League(A2RL) race on April 27.

The A2RL reportedly aims to shape STEM education in the United Arab Emirates, and autonomous mobility across the world.

A host of Dallara-built SF19 single-seaters were controlled by robots as they raced around the famous circuit.

Eight different teams will com a grand prize worth $2.25 million

It is believed that the cars have cameras and sensors, allowing them to feed information back to a computer to make decisions every five milliseconds.

However, the first race of the series was filled with incidents.

In a video posted on social media, one car went straight into the back of another, sending it into the air, which was similar to Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo’s accident during the Chinese Grand Prix.

During the feature race, the speed was not as quick as many expected as many cars either spun or stopped on track.

The race leader at the time, the Polimove car, locked up and spun on lap four.

Behind it, the Unimore car moved past to lead the race but almost came to a stop after passing the accident.

The two cars behind stopped as they refused to get past the Polimove vehicle under the yellow flag.

Former McLaren F1 driver, Jolyon Palmer, said on commentary: “It's impressive technology, not ideal for a race, but it's impressive technology that we've managed to see four cars race together.

“Now four cars stopped on the same straight very, very polite with each other giving each other enough space. The technology is working. It can obviously see what's around with all those aforementioned sensors. There are plenty onboard for it to realise when it should advance and when it shouldn't – there's a car ahead. It has recognised that quite clearly as has the car in front of that.”


The Unimore car suddenly stopped during the closing stages, allowing TUM to eventually win the race.

Dr Giovanni Pau, technical director at the Autonomous Robotics Research Center in Abu Dhabi said: “Look at it in a year, or a year and a half from now. I'm not sure it will be the same.”

Featured Image Credit: Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Topics: Motorsport