May 16, 2017

Purdue Motorsports pioneering autonomous racing division

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Motorsports is embracing the future and pioneering an autonomous racing division to add to its current evGrand Prix program, which consists of a collegiate and high school racing season. 

James Caruthers, the Gerald and Sarah Skidmore Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, says that autonomous vehicles and technology are the future.

“The autonomous division of the evGrand Prix is a major technology step forward to engage the future of automotive technology,” he said. “It also enables the bringing together of advanced information technologies with mechatronics, which is technology that combines electronics and mechanical engineering, and electric vehicles. This event will be STEM, science, techonology, engineering and math, at the highest level.”

The series will be all electric and begin in May 2018 with remote control vehicles employing mechatronics.

Danny White, director of motorsports at Purdue, says the remote-control event will help familiarize students with the technology used in autonomous vehicles and prepare them to build fully autonomous machines for the 2019 season.

Caruthers says the series will teach students how to innovate and adapt to changing technologies.

Purdue will partner with LHP Engineering Solutions and Bolton University in Manchester, England, to create the series.

The series was announced Tuesday (May 16) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The evGrand Prix is a part of Purdue’s MSTEM3, Motorsports STEM for Manufacturing and Medicine, program that is designed to spark students’ interest in STEM fields by taking advantage of Purdue’s location near the “Racing Capital of the World.” 

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, mhuckaby@purdue.edu 

Sources: James Caruthers, caruther@purdue.edu

Danny White, white66@purdue.edu

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