Science & Tech

Algorithms can’t replace Lewis Hamilton, even if they’re faster drivers

While Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were racing for the Formula 1 title over the weekend, self-driving cars were fighting for the inaugural Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) championship.

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) took the chequered flag at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team bagged a cool $1 million after hitting an average speed of 218 km/h on the fabled oval track.

The contest was an impressive showcase of self-driving engineering, but it didn’t convince me that AI will soon replace human race car drivers.

One reason for my skepticism is that the algorithms didn’t prove they could compete with IndyCar drivers.

Their top speeds were nowhere near the records set by humans, and they were set in time-trials when no other cars were on the track. Racing side-by-side against other vehicles would have been a far tougher test. 

TUM Autonomous Motorsport from the Technische Universität München (TUM) won the $1 million grand prize