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Hawaiʻi autonomous race car team places third in driverless challenge

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Snapshot of the UH AI Racing Tech car ahead of the challenger’s car, courtesy of the live broadcast.

The University of Hawaiʻi‘s autonomous race car team finished in third place at the Autonomous Challenge at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) on Jan. 7 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

UH AI Racing Tech is a collaboration between UH Maui College, UH Mānoa’s College of Engineering, UC San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkeley.

One team member described the race as a “rollercoaster” competition.

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Among nine teams that were invited to the challenge, six participated in time trials, including UH AI Racing Tech. The team finished sixth in time trials and was set to race against the third seed TII EuroRacing in the quarterfinals. However, UH AI Racing Tech encountered an intermittent mechanical issue. The organizers automatically advanced TII EuroRacing into the semifinals, but, prior to its semifinal race, TII EuroRacing faced an issue of its own.

Since UH AI Racing Tech was able to overcome its mechanical issue, according to race bylaws, organizers modified the schedule and bracket, and UH AI Racing Tech was able to race for third place against MIT–PITT–RW, which defeated KAIST in the quarterfinals.

In its match against MIT–PITT–RW, UH AI Racing Tech made several passes at speeds of more than 125 mph, while MIT–PITT–RW was unable to make its pass at 135 mph, giving UH AI Racing Tech the victory.

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This was UH AI Racing Tech’s second consecutive appearance at the Autonomous Challenge @ CES. The team was coming off of a second place finish at the Indy Autonomous Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 11, 2022.

“We took second place in November…and I think there were some questions as to whether we really were the better team. Today really proved that we do have the strength to come out here and absolutely crush it,” C.K. Wolfe, UH AI Racing Tech member and UC Berkeley graduate student, said on the live broadcast.

PoliMOVE out of Italy defended its Autonomous Challenge at CES title, winning the inaugural event in 2022.

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