Latest in Science

Image credit:

Watch Stanford's self-driving Audi hit the track

It sounds like no fun, but the idea is to prevent crashes like the one Google had recently.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
March 1, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Stanford University

Sending a self-driving race car around a track with nobody inside seems pointless -- there's no driver to enjoy the ride, and the car certainly isn't getting a thrill out of it. But the students performing research with Stanford University's Audi TTS test rig "Shelley" (not to be confused with Audi's own self-driving race cars) are getting a kick out of the numbers generated by the machine. "A race car driver can use all of a car's functionality to drive fast," says Stanford Professor Chris Gerdes. "We want to access that same functionality to make driving safer."

The teams push the car to speeds over 120mph and the computers have executed lap times nearly as fast as professional drivers. However, they also spend a lot of time maneuvering at 50 to 75 mph, the speeds where accidents are most likely to happen. That way, the students can figure out how to incorporate braking, throttle and maneuvering to develop new types of automatic collision avoidance algorithms. Better technology, for instance, could have saved Google from a recent slow-speed accident where its vehicle was struck by a bus.

During race days, students break into teams to perform different types of research. "Once you get to the track, things can go differently than you expect. So it's an excellent lesson of advanced planning," says Gerdes. In the latest rounds of testing, for instance, one PhD student developed emergency lane-change algorithms, while another recorded a skilled human driver in an attempt to convert his behavior into a driving algorithm. The main goal, of course, is to prepare students for something they may not have expected -- an automotive industry that is adopting self-driving technology at breakneck speeds.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Garmin's new smartwatch lets streamers show real-time heart rates

Garmin's new smartwatch lets streamers show real-time heart rates

View
Jabra's ANC update for the Elite 75t earbuds is now available

Jabra's ANC update for the Elite 75t earbuds is now available

View
Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro is another powerful flagship that you won't buy

Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro is another powerful flagship that you won't buy

View
Amazon Echo (2020) review: Small in stature, mighty in sound

Amazon Echo (2020) review: Small in stature, mighty in sound

View
The Morning After: 2020 iPad Air review, and RIP to Quibi

The Morning After: 2020 iPad Air review, and RIP to Quibi

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr