A self-driving, electric DeLorean was created recently by researchers at Stanford — presumably in anticipation of the recent “Back to the Future Day.” 🙂
To provide some specifics here (btw, I’ll leave a thanks to “mspohr” on the Tesla Motors Club forum for this), “MARTY” (Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control), as the vehicle is known, was created by Stanford Professor Chris Gerdes and various students from a vintage 1981 DeLorean.
As one can see, the transformed DeLorean really has some moves to it…
Chris Gerdes, professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford, commented on the project thusly: “We want to design automated vehicles that can take any action necessary to avoid an accident. The laws of physics will limit what the car can do, but we think the software should be capable of any possible maneuver within those limits. MARTY is another step in this direction, thanks to the passion and hard work of our students. Stanford builds great research by building great researchers.”
“In our work developing autonomous driving algorithms, we’ve found that sometimes you need to sacrifice stability to turn sharply and avoid accidents. The very best rally car drivers do this all this time, sacrificing stability so they can use all of the car’s capabilities to avoid obstacles and negotiate tight turns at speed. Their confidence in their ability to control the car opens up new possibilities for the car’s motion. Current control systems designed to assist a human driver, however, don’t allow this sort of maneuvering. We think that it is important to open up this design space to develop fully automated cars that are as safe as possible.
“A drift competition is the perfect blend of our two most important research questions — how to control the car precisely and how to design automated vehicles that interact with humans. While we aren’t picturing a future where every car produces clouds of white tire smoke during the daily commute, we do want automated vehicles that can decipher the subtle cues drivers give when driving and incorporate this feedback when planning motion. Drifting is a way to study these larger questions, with style.”
Going by the video above, I think that I might actually prefer MARTY to a Tesla Model S….