Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cars that drive themselves

A few months ago, the Stanford Center for Professional Development sent out an email about a webinar on Design Thinking and the Car of the Future. The webinar by itself is interesting because it discusses innovation in what is considered to be a fairly mature field, but what I found really fascinating was the video of the car that was the result of their work.

This first video shows a self-driven car creating Audi's 4-ring logo in the sand.

The second one is a follow on and shows the climb to Pikes Peak.

We've all heard of cars that can parallel-park themselves, but the reason I found this fascinating was that it brings complete automation to high-performance driving. It makes it clear that the day is not too far when we'll be able to get in a car, program a destination, and have the car drive us there. And in sporty fashion if we so desire.

This could have interesting implications for the world of auto racing. Perhaps in the future, cars will race in competition using computer algorithms instead of drivers.

Update 02/21/13 - Commerically viable autonomous cars?

Just received a related piece of information from IEEE Spectrum -- UK unveils 'affordable' self-driving RobotCar.  Researchers in the UK are attempting to build a self-driving car that will add just $150 to the cost of the base car.

Update 07/10/13 - Smart cars getting hacked

Car with more smarts bring with them another problem -- that of being hacked.  This poses problems in two areas -- break-ins and taking over of the driving controls.  You can read more about these risks in these articles:
Update 5/28/14 - Google's self-driving car

Google blog recently posted the following article -- Just press go: designing a self-driving vehicle.

Related articles

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