INDIANAPOLIS—Bridgestone Americas Inc. is partnering with the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition being described as "the world's first autonomous high-speed, head-to-head race."
The race is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The tire maker will work with the IAC and university teams in the competition to advance self-driving car technology with the goal of increasing public awareness of the impact of automotive automation.
"Bridgestone is committed to collaborating with innovative partners to pioneer active, intelligent and digitally-integrated technologies that improve the way people move, live, work and play," Bridgestone Americas CEO Paolo Ferrari in a statement. "The Indy Autonomous Challenge is a groundbreaking event bringing young engineering minds and industry leaders together to deliver the next generation of autonomous technology."
Bridgestone, through its Firestone brand, has a history of more than 100 years at the famed racetrack, including 71 wins at the Indy 500. The company said it will use its knowledge of the track and racing, in general, to design tires to be used by teams next year.
The race is being organized by Energy Systems Network, an Indianapolis non-profit group working to develop energy technology in Indiana, and the speedway. The $1.5 million prize competition will feature modified Dallara IL-15 race cars expected to achieve speeds of up to 200 mph.
A goal of the competition is to advance commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems.
"The Indy Autonomous Challenge is about innovation to further technical excellence and inspiration to our university competitors," CEO Paul Mitchell of Energy Systems Network said in a statement.