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Boston Dynamics' robot dog holds the starting flag on the grid of the Indy Autonomous Challenge race at the Indianapolis Speedway on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway helped autonomous vehicle researchers reach a new milestone over the weekend by hosting its inaugural driverless car race.

Driving the news: Nine teams from 21 universities competed to win the $1 million grand prize — with Technical University of Munich (TUM) recording the fastest two-lap average speed of 135.944 mph on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval, per an Indy Autonomous Challenge statement.

  • "The Rules of the IAC competition required each team to compete in a fastest lap competition that included an obstacle avoidance component," the statement notes.

What they're saying: Dallara USA CEO Stefano dePonti told AFP he believed he'd witnessed "a part of history."

  • "Nobody knew that these [self-driving cars] could go so fast in competition," he said.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Joann Muller: By not racing side-by-side on the track, the cars didn't have to make split-second decisions based on the behavior of other vehicles around it, the way humans do every day. So in the end, the autonomous challenge merely proved that driverless cars can go really fast.

In photos: Indy Autonomous Challenge
Cars are lined up on the grid during a practice session of the Indy Autonomous Challenge race on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
The car of AI Racing Tech of Hawaii University completes a lap during the Indy Autonomous Challenge race at the Indianapolis Speedway in Indianapolis on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
Team members of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) stand before their car prior to the Indy Autonomous Challenge race on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
Alexander Wischnewski (center) of TUM Autonomous Motorsport embraces a teammate after competing in the Indy Autonomous Challenge race on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images
Team members of TUM Autonomous Motorsport pose for photos after winning the Indy Autonomous Challenge race at the Indianapolis Speedway in Indianapolis on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: A conversation on our autonomous future

Go deeper

In photos: Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade returns

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City was back with fanfare on Thursday, after last year's festivities were scaled back due to the pandemic.

The big picture: The 95th annual parade featured new floats, marching bands, music stars, Santa and others, who made their way through the 2.5-mile route lined with cheering crowds. Last year's parade route was reduced to just one largely spectator-less block.

9 mins ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."