Alabama and Auburn competed in ground-breaking self-drive race—watch the full video here

UA joined Italy’s Politecnico di Milano for the special event. Photo via Penske Entertainment: Mike Young

Self-drive cars are becoming more popular, but what about self-drive racing? Move over Nascar—just last month, Auburn and Alabama competed in the world’s first ever self-drive racing competition. Read on for the speedy scoop.

The great self-drive race

Self-Drive Race
Indy Autonomous Challenge 2021 Winners. Photo via Indy Autonomous Challenge

The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) took place on October 23 and was the first of its kind—featuring 21 universities, 10 race cars and 0 drivers. Although a German-based team came out on top, Alabama and Auburn did us proud on the international stage.

And before you ask, no, I’m not going to spoil the rest. You can catch a full recording here to see if Alabama or Auburn came out ahead.

The Alabama/Italy crossover we didn’t know we needed

Zoom, zoom, zoom. Video via The University of Alabama

The University of Alabama‘s team paired up with Italy’s Politecnico di Milano for their entry, aptly named PoliMOVE. And, in true UA fashion, they did not come to mess around. According to, PoliMOVE stunned spectators as it hit straightaway speeds over 151 MPH!

With a high-performing vehicle like that, it will come as no surprise that building the car and its operating systems was an incredibly intricate undertaking.

“This is not something that’s been done before. It’s a new problem — to compete with other cars at high speeds in close proximity to other autonomously driven vehicles using only the sensors themselves for information. All the driving is based on nothing but the sensors in the vehicle themselves.”

—Dr. Brandon Dixon, Team PoliMOVE member and Associate Professor, Computer Science  

Auburn’s self-drive entry

Auburn Self-Drive
Looking spirited in the orange and blue. Photo via IAC

The Tigers also made an impressive showing at the event, and especially enjoyed the opportunity to “redefine the bounds of performance in extreme settings while still maintaining safety.”

Further, they are thrilled with the idea that technologies developed through competitions like these can be used to increase current consumer cars in areas like performance and safety.

Are you yelling “Roll Tide” or “Weagle”? Let us know @TheBamaBuzz.

Madison Croxson
Madison Croxson
Articles: 48