Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Robotic Audi To Brave Pikes Peak Without a Driver

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the zoom-zoom-splat dept.

Transportation 197

Scifi83 writes "A team of researchers at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) has filled the trunk of an Audi TTS with computers and GPS receivers, transforming it into a vehicle that drives itself. The car will attempt Pikes Peak without a driver at race speeds, something that's never been done."

cancel ×

197 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I, for one (3, Funny)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037060)

would like to welcome our robotic driver overlords.

Re:I, for one (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037456)

would like to welcome our robotic driver overlords.

Considering all the inattentive people, old people, jerks (especially the BMW and Audi drivers), losers on cell phones, and teen age drivers who have no business driving, I absolutely agree with you.

I hate driving and I hate cars, but in America, cars are a necessity.

Re:I, for one (0, Flamebait)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037894)

Doesn't it suck? I remember teaching my younger sister how to drive. She was particularly good for her age... and for being a female.. (sorry, but it's true). I would've rather driven with her than most of my friends/family who were driving for years.

I always said to her: Don't think I'm nitpicking and being annoying, it isn't you I don't trust, it's the rest of the world.

Re:I, for one (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037712)

Ok. Is this meme dead? I didn't get the e-mail.

Explanation (5, Funny)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037080)

The researchers have programmed Shelley to handle like a racecar by using a set of computer calculations called algorithms

Ha! So that's how they did it! Quite simple, really, once you know the trick.

Re:Explanation (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037126)

damn it! why didn't anyone tell me about these "algorithms" before? They sound so useful!

Re:Explanation (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037312)

Jimmy Carter decided to start a rock band consisting of ex-Presidents. He recruited George Bush and Bill Clinton, but they still needed a drummer. Clinton suggested his vice president, who had after all come within a hair's breadth of the presidency himself. The band soon started getting gigs all the time, many of these at swanky country clubs and mansions. One particular venue had such a powerful sound system that all guests had to stay several dozen yards away from the speakers or suffer serious hearing impairment. On the day that the Ex-Presidents were to perform, the club hired several new butlers to serve the large number of guests who would attend. One in particular had not been informed about the unusual power of the speaker system. In the middle of a drum solo, he tragically attempted to walk in front of the speakers to bring someone a drink, and his brain suffered a massive hemorrhage. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The autopsy report would record, "The Al Gore rhythm killed Jeeves."

Re:Explanation (0, Flamebait)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038526)

Well, you see the Al Gore isms are only useful to Al Gore as he has copyright on them. Things like:

I invented the internet.
I am still green because I buy carbon credits.
An inconvenient truth

And other Al Gore isms all must be either attributed or licensed from Al.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037342)

The researchers have programmed Shelley to handle like a racecar by using a set of computer calculations called algorithms

Ha! So that's how they did it! Quite simple, really, once you know the trick.

I hope they patent this "algorithm" idea before somebody else comes along and tries to use them.

Re:Explanation (5, Funny)

whopub (1100981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037444)

Truth is, it's probable just The Stig in the trunk, with a laptop.

Re:Explanation (4, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037454)

Bah. "Algorithm" is just doublespeak for "Mechanical Turk."

Some say he can steer a car just by thinking evasive thoughts.
And if he turns the wheel, the road will slide easily underneath his car like a waitress with Tiger Woods.
All I know is that it'll be driven by The Stig.

Re:Explanation (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037484)

The researchers have programmed Shelley

God, I hope that's a typo. Does no one read Asimov any more? The car's name should be Sally [wikipedia.org] . It would fit perfectly; iirc the story tales place in 2020, and Sally is an antique.

As Asimov coined the word "robotics" and this car is a robot, it's a damned shame if they didn't pay homage.

Re:Explanation (5, Informative)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037710)

The car is named after Michèle Mouton, her nickname apparently was Shelley, the most successful female rally driver to date. Apparently she's considered the most successful female driver in all of motorsports. And it just so happens she drove Audi's and she was the first woman to win the Pikes Peak hill climb. I'd say that's a far more appropriate reference than anything from Asimov.

Re:Explanation (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037764)

Top Female Driver?

Where does that put her overall?

Re:Explanation (2, Informative)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037914)

Top Female Driver?

Where does that put her overall?

Well, she won something, came second in something else and then quit due to rule changes. But please, read the article [wikipedia.org] already.

Re:Explanation (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038124)

I'm not much of a race fan - so while her Wikipedia does tell what races she's won, I don't have a frame of reference.

I know that the Pikes Peak race has been going on for nearly 100 years...and that this was the first girl to win.

I don't know how she relates to male drivers.

Is racing a male-dominated sport? Or is gender insignificant?

Re:Explanation (1, Funny)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038148)

Pfft. Call me when she's making sexually suggestive domain registrar commercials.

Re:Explanation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038044)

>> Top Female Driver? Where does that put her overall?

Let's just say she only takes up two parking spots at WalMart.

Re:Explanation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038414)

Drove Audi's what?

Re:Explanation (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038198)

An Audi in not a Corvette.

Re:Explanation (1)

Cobalt Jacket (611660) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038502)

Yes, a Corvette would be hard-pressed to do anything worthwhile once it leaves the pavement. Or were you trying to be insulting?

Be thankful it's not Christine. (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038248)

Although everyone knows all Audis are named Gretchen by default.

Re:Explanation (2)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037510)

While the algorithms that make it handle like a racecar seem interesting I'm more concerned about the algorithms for emotion, I mean the headline says this driver-less car will "brave" Pikes Peak. How exactly is the bravery implemented? What if next it decides to "brave" global domination?

Re:Explanation (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037784)

How exactly is the bravery implemented? What if next it decides to "brave" global domination?

Don't worry! The scientists have that covered.

To have bravery, you first must have fear. So the first and most difficult step was to program the car to be afraid all the time. Then, to get bravery, they simply program it to ignore its fear when it's driving up Pike's Peak.

The rest of the time it's a total scaredy-car. If you think it's trying to dominate the globe, just shout "boo!" at it and it'll drive off to cower in the corner and cry.

Re:Explanation (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038096)

How exactly is the bravery implemented?

/s/fear/courage/g

Re:Explanation (1)

bareman (60518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038274)

They did mention that the car was going to be equipped with a "Kill Switch".

Re:Explanation (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037870)

Here's the program:

1. We've placed one of those robotic sex dolls at the top of the peak.
2. If you can get to her, she's yours.

Gets you all the speed up the trail that you could ever desire.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038404)

Alogorithm - that's bad. It sounds like either Al Gore had something to do with it, or one of those crazy, never invented anything in their lives, ayrabs may be behind this.

Don't turn off the debugging code! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037100)

Side effects are a bitch when you need to tell left from right.

Note to Self (5, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037102)

Observe trials from uphill side of road.

Re:Note to Self (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037246)

Observe trials from uphill side of road.

No kidding. If ever a story deserved a "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" tag...

Re:Note to Self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037780)

I've actually done simulations on this vehicle. To be honest it never actually makes it to the top, but something very strange does happen to the computer when it goes off-road. It suddenly starts writing out this text:

What's happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Okay okay, calm down calm down get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? Its a sort of tingling in my... well I suppose I better start finding names for things. Let's call it a... tailpipe! Yeah! Tailpipe! And hey, what's this roaring sound, whooshing past what I'm suddenly gonna call my engine? Wind! Is that a good name? It'll do. Yeah, this is really exciting. I'm dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There's an awful lot of that now isn't it? And what's this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me? Hello, Ground! *CONNECTION LOST*

I can't figure out where this is coming from. I also can't get a good cup of tea around here.

Re:Note to Self (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037468)

"Observe trials from uphill side of road."

It's an Audi, not a Toyota!

Re:Note to Self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038720)

Observe trials from uphill side of road.

Second note to self: After a switchback, the uphill side of the road becomes the downhill side of the road. Maybe viewing from a helicopter would be better.

They can try Mt. Washington Auto Road next (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037114)

It may not be as tall as Pike's Peak, but it's a more challenging road, IMHO. http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/blogs/perrinpost/2007/08/this-car-climbe.html [concierge.com]

Re:They can try Mt. Washington Auto Road next (3, Informative)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037612)

But does Mount Washington have an annual, scheduled race period where the road is closed to everyone except racers? The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is one of the oldest auto races in the world and has been held for close to 100 years.

Re:They can try Mt. Washington Auto Road next (1)

elysiana (1152995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037882)

Why yes, they did. It hasn't been run in recent years, but it is in fact older than the Pikes Peak race.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Washington_Hillclimb_Auto_Race [wikipedia.org]

Having been up Mount Washington in a regular car, doing regular speeds, and seeing a wall of rock on one side and a sheer cliff on the other, with no guardrails along the majority, I can't say that I have the urge to see if I could drive up it at racing speeds. That takes a special kind of crazy - an AWESOME kind.

Re:They can try Mt. Washington Auto Road next (2, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037980)

The biggest event [mountwashi...adrace.com] on the Mt Washington auto road is actually a running race held each summer. It's an intermediate distance road race - about 8 miles (12.7 km) long. But it's uphill all the way [mountwashi...adrace.com] : there's 4600 ft (1400 m) of elevation gain, which tends to make it feel more like a half marathon. Also, it's held on the mountain that claims to have the "world's worst weather [google.com] ." It is not atypical for the course start to have temperatures in a 60s at the start of the race under clear skies, only to have the runners finish in near-freezing temperatures, fog, and 50 knot winds.

In spite of that, the winner of the race generally can finish in only one hour. Last year's winner made it in just under an hour [coolrunning.com] .

PP is an exciting road (4, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037134)

Having raced up Pikes Peak myself, I think this is pretty impressive. The road surface varies from almost-pavement-quality treated packed dirt, to completely loose gravel on rut-filled rock, with (as I recall) an average 10% climb. It'd be a great test ground for offroad stuff at a slow speed with nobody else on the road, but doing it at full speed requires a *lot* more than just the ability to see where the roadway is: giving a robot the ability to keep a fast car from skidding/sliding on loose gravel on an off-camber turn appears to me to be a wholly different type of challenge than previous autonomous driving projects.

Re:PP is an exciting road (3, Insightful)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037306)

Rapid reaction time, good slide slip sensors, and some great counterintuitive steering routines are all going to be essential if this is going to be "at race speeds". Good trained drivers screw this kind of thing up all the time. A robot can be programmed to be repeatable, but is this one flexible enough to conditions to be fast AND safe?

Look out below!

Re:PP is an exciting road (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037480)

...and some great counterintuitive steering routines...

I didn't realize programs/algorithms/AI could distinguish between 'intuitive' and 'counterintuitive'.

Re:PP is an exciting road (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037594)

Now you know. And Knowing is half the battle.

Re:PP is an exciting road (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038004)

Rapid reaction time, good slide slip sensors, and some great counterintuitive steering routines are all going to be essential if this is going to be "at race speeds".

Unfortunately, *realtime* reaction time has nothing to do with staying on the road if physics wont allow it. If you go into a corner too fast, then you're quick reaction could put you into a beautiful sideways controlled drift, right past the point where the surface of the road stops existing. This means the car must also have some very impressive "look ahead". If it doesn't have a map of the road, it'll have to predict a safe speed for any blind turns (I imagine nearly all of them are) while considering the road surface conditions. I assume they use a pretty precise map (something like rally), and leaves road conditions to the traction sensors...does or doesn't have a map...still extremely impressive.

It would be interesting to through something at it like a blind hairpin turn with a nice tarmac to pea gravel covered tarmac transition around the bend. There's a popular youtube (blocked at work, can't get link) video of that type of condition with a blind type of rally race (no map) with human drivers...I remember about 5 cars rolling!

Re:PP is an exciting road (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038700)

I got as far as the wrong "your", and then dismissed the remainder of the post as the ramblings of a crazy person.

Racing speed? Awesome! (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037996)

Not many humans [youtube.com] can drive up the Pike's Peak at racing speed.

If they can create a robotic car to do this then one major criterion for a "human level" AI has been reached.

Re:PP is an exciting road (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038058)

"giving a robot the ability to keep a fast car from skidding/sliding on loose gravel on an off-camber turn appears to me to be a wholly different type of challenge than previous autonomous driving projects."

Actually, that's the easy part. It's called Traction Control [audiusa.com] , and it's standard on pretty much all cars sold in the US these days. Given that the article mentions how they're using a lot of Audi's electronics and sensor systems, I expect they'll leave these systems in place.

It is true that a good driver is probably faster without the Traction Control, so it would be interesting if they rolled their own that was dialed in for maximum cornering speed instead of safety.

Re:PP is an exciting road (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038442)

I don't think Traction Control handles the problem I'm pointing out. It's one thing to actively control the torque going to the wheels to prevent them sliding. It's a completely different thing to be on a long straight, going fast, and decide that the approaching hairpin turn is filled with gravel and sand and you need to slow down *now*. I've seen people slide off curves with their ABS brakes on full because they misjudged the road conditions and went into a turn too fast. No amount of traction control can fix too much inertia for the available traction, so you have to make that judgment beforehand. *That* is the part that's hard to implement, because it requires a vision system that can recognize the visual patterns that indicate low-traction roadway.

meh (4, Funny)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037150)

I already saw this on Speed Racer.
Spoiler Alert!
Speed wins the race anyway, and helps Inspector Detector catch the nefarious people behind the robot car

W1N vs. FA1L (4, Funny)

S-4'N3 (1232394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037192)

I am not certain what will be more astonishing: watching this succeed or watching it fail.

Re:W1N vs. FA1L (4, Insightful)

Carik (205890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037422)

Easy. Watching it succeed will be more astonishing.

Watching it fail will be more entertaining (assuming some safety precautions preventing anyone from being killed).

Re:W1N vs. FA1L (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037734)

(assuming some safety precautions preventing anyone from being killed).

Good point!

The summary only says that the car won't have a driver. I hope they remember to have the passengers get out, too!

Re:W1N vs. FA1L (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038164)

I was mostly thinking "make sure there aren't any pedestrians in the way" and "make sure that when it falls off the mountain, it doesn't land on anything important," but getting the passengers out would be valuable too.

Re:W1N vs. FA1L (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038582)

Also, don't forget the hooker in the trunk.

Re:W1N vs. FA1L (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038490)

This projects strikes me a extremely elitist. I want to see a robot driving a huge bus full of robot passengers doing their regular robot things, like optimizing their energy efficiency, updating their belief systems from a trusted repository, and compressing old files.

Mount Evans Road (1)

SummitCO (1043824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037224)

Mount Evans Road would be more challenging...

Re:Mount Evans Road (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037390)

The Mt. Evans road is paved all the way. I understand Pike's has some gravel. I've been on Evan's but not Pike's. It was challenging for me as a human being from sea level, who hadn't had enough time to acclimate*. For a robot it doesn't seem like such a big deal.

*The worst effects of mountain sickness came after getting back down. The cumulative effects gave me a wicked headache.

Re:Mount Evans Road (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037452)

Pike's Peak has gravel, packed dirt, some asphalt, the works! The change in altitude plays HELL with the engine output even on turbocharged cars so there are many many variables at work. Oh, there's not great guardrails either I understand....

Re:Mount Evans Road (1)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037654)

Guardrails? Guardrails!?! We don't need no stinking GUARDRAILS!

Seriously though. There aren't any. Well, there's a couple on the paved section (the first 7 miles) but none on the last 13 miles (the section the racers run.)

Re:Mount Evans Road (2, Interesting)

Clomer (644284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038508)

I've never been on Mt. Evans, but being from Colorado Springs (at the base of Pikes Peak), I have driven up Pikes Peak. Not as a racer, mind you, just as a tourist, in my '02 Saturn SL2.

It's not a simple road. Even going slowly, you definitely have to pay attention. Lots of loose gravel and dirt where a moments inattention can result in a skid where you go driving right off the side of the mountain. And as others have pointed out, the difference in elevation wreaks havoc on engine efficiency - going from about 8000 feet elevation at the toll gate to just over 14000 feet at the summit, my car was noticeably more sluggish near the top than it usually is (Colorado Springs, where I do most of my driving, averages at about 6500 feet). As an indication of the hazards of the road, every once in a while there is a local news report of someone driving off the road to their doom.

Every summer, there is an organized race up the mountain, the Annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb. I assume that this robot will be doing its thing during that race. I look forward to hearing about how well it does.

Yikes! (3, Funny)

neiras (723124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037232)

The researchers have programmed Shelley to handle like a racecar by using a set of computer calculations called algorithms

See what happens when you let Liberal Arts majors playing journalist direct the public's understanding of technical things?

Soon: "John's car rolled out of his driveway all by itself and hit a fire hydrant, honey! He should sue General Motors for faulty algorithms!"

Re:Yikes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037554)

As a software engineer, +1 Scary...

Re:Yikes! (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037656)

Soon: "John's car rolled out of his driveway all by itself and hit a fire hydrant, honey! He should sue General Motors for faulty algorithms!"

If someone's car did that, couldn't "faulty algorithms" actually be the problem?

Re:Yikes! (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037756)

ESPECIALLY if it was a GM.

Re:Yikes! (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037814)

Possibly. But more likely than not, it was because the driver forgot to set the parking brake, or something equally stupid.

Re:Yikes! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037926)

So you mean, “algorithms” becomes the new “gene”, as in “genetically modified”, meaning “It can’t possibly also have good applications.”?

Let’s see them become Amish then. ;)
*must... wait...until... then... to tell them that our own bodies are basically based genetic algorithms* ;)

KITT? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037262)

;)

Re:KITT? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038038)

Still needs speech (partially possible), a bar of moving lights (existing), turbo boost (as the lowriders for assistance) and super pursuit mode (might be a biit hard, to accelerate time itself to twice the normal speed. ;)

Wait for a Chinese-Russian joint-venture, producing KARR! ^^
And David Hasselhoff with a goatee!

Re:KITT? (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038366)

Dammit, now I have to get out my geek cred.

KARR was not built by the Russians or Chinese. The Knight Automated Roving Robot was the prototype for KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand). When KARR was powered up for the first time, A programming error (or perhaps a faulty algorithm!!) made its AI unstable and dangerous. Namely KARR was programmed for self-preservation instead of preservation of human life, as KITT was.

  The more you know!

-yes I know I'm a loser.

You are not a looser, (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038652)

You are my new best friend.

If it wasn't for KITT I wouldn't know how to perform a flawless in lane J-Turn!

P.S. it's not as easy as it looks in the movies!

Good thing the robotic car is NOT an Toyota. (-1, Offtopic)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037346)

Pikes Peak would be a very bad place to experience unintended acceleration / breaking issues.

In regards to GPS, I hope it doesn't become relied upon in mass-production vehicles - already it's bad enough how some drivers over-rely on GPS for directions with nasty consequences when the map data doesn't reflect reality, such as a gravel roads, dead ends, bridges out, etc.

Ron

I forsee emergency bridge building projects... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037490)

...when the DOT discovers that Google Maps shows a bridge that isn't there. Yet.

Re:Good thing the robotic car is NOT an Toyota. (0)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037500)

Except AUDI has been known as 'Accelerates Under Demonic Influence' for some time now.

Re:Good thing the robotic car is NOT an Toyota. (1)

kclittle (625128) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038602)

That's because of the evil spirit that possesses drivers once they sit behind the wheel of a 'S' series Audi -- I know! :)

Price is Right (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037498)

I have an image in my mind of the Price is Right Cliffhangers game, where the guy goes right over the top when you lose. Oh, and the song [televisiontunes.com] is now firmly implanted in my brain for the rest of the day.

Bravery (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037528)

It seems like it would be braver to have no driver but still have a passenger.

Current achievements? (2, Funny)

BoppreH (1520463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037558)

Shelley has reached speeds of 130 miles per hour without a driver on testing grounds at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

I could do much better with a brick.

Audi?! (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037586)

If you were going to build a robot car, why not build it out of something you can get real cheap. Like, say, you know, your Grandma's Plymouth Aries K.

Re:Audi?! (4, Insightful)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037620)

Audi, specifically Audi Quattros, have been rally car favorites for years. Big engine, good tranny, four wheel drive. There are a lot of people that know how to get them running well, and the cars are built well to do the job.

Re:Audi?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31037722)

Ignoramus! Grandma might have had a Dodge Aries, or she might have had a Plymouth Reliant, but there's no way she had a "Plymouth Aries".

Not that there was a nickel's worth of difference between the 2 cars, but still, the name is the name.

Re:Audi?! (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038408)

And not that either was worth a nickel. Stupid K cars!

Carburetor stuck open on the freeway once, and I got my own taste of "sudden uncontrolled acceleration." Of course, I just popped it into neutral and let the engine blow, but still scary at the time.

Re:Audi?! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037770)

Perhaps they got the Audi real cheap?

Re:Audi?! (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037776)

To paraphrase the brilliant (but eccentric) Dr. Brown: The way I see it, if you're gonna build an automatic driver into a car, why not do it with some style?

Re:Audi?! (0, Troll)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037890)

I may be off because I'm not an expert in optimal control theory or nonlinear dynamics but I'm gonna guess it's because the Audi offers 4WD and in turn a much more stable platform through what are very "dynamic" turns. Consider the mathematics throughout a turn on gravel while applying power with a 2WD versus a 4WD. Would the 4WD be easier to control? I propose it would be.

Then again it could be because Audis are great at rally racing and they got one for cheap.

Re:Audi?! (1)

neurovish (315867) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038204)

I may be off because I'm not an expert in optimal control theory or nonlinear dynamics but I'm gonna guess it's because the Audi offers 4WD and in turn a much more stable platform through what are very "dynamic" turns. Consider the mathematics throughout a turn on gravel while applying power with a 2WD versus a 4WD. Would the 4WD be easier to control? I propose it would be.

Then again it could be because Audis are great at rally racing and they got one for cheap.

The Audi will also come with a lot of built-in "don't drive off the road" features called algorithms.
Fortunately for the stanford team, Audi has already figured out computer controls to mostly keep the car from spinning out or locking up the brakes when presented with mostly reasonable inputs. They have to make it run up the mountain without creating any unreasonable inputs now.

Re:Audi?! (1)

Krazy Kanuck (1612777) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038184)

"CARS is funded by Volkswagen, Bosch, Honda, Toyota and Nissan."

Audi being a subsidiary of VW.

Re:Audi?! (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038598)

If you were going to build a robot car, why not build it out of something you can get real cheap. Like, say, you know, your Grandma's Plymouth Aries K.

They specifically state in the article that they're shooting for real racing speeds. While I don't know what a Plymouth Aries is, I think my grandma has a Reliant. I'm pretty sure that isn't going up Pike's Peak at anything like racing speeds.

The Audi is a car that can let drivers shine, and any flaw in the driving algorithm will be quickly apparent at high speeds. Turned around, with proper tires, it's damn difficult to lose control of an Audi A4 Quattro in the snow at "normal speeds". There's a lot of speed between "racing speeds" and "previously done at 25mph" where Audi can actually hide an incompetent driver made of meat or silicon.

Re:Audi?! (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038610)

Official answer:
Cuz they're sponsored by Volkswagen and cuz the car has built in many of the electronic sensors and devices that they need.

Short answer:
Cuz they can and cuz an Audi TTS is hella cooler than an Aries.

Obligatory AWESOME PP Video (5, Informative)

imaswinger (592216) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037680)

Ari Vatanen racing up pike's peak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKgeCQGu_ug [youtube.com]

Re:Obligatory AWESOME PP Video (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038412)

Once you get past the boring intro... damn! That is some fancy drivin'! Drifting through turns at such high speeds on unpaved roads inches away from a cliff-top drop to certain death... Makes me wonder how he can drive comfortably with such enormous balls.

DARPA Grand Challenge? (1)

CAFED00D (1337179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037702)

Are these the same guys that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge? There's a fascinating documentary on this, available on Netflix Streaming. "The Great Robot Race: Nova".

Good news (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037744)

The good news about this is it can now drive only itself off a cliff when the gas pedal gets stuck.

What about weight distribution? (1)

compsci06 (1677342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037856)

One very important part of high speed time trials through rough turns is weight distribution between the front and rear axles. With all the computer equipment adding weight to the rear of the car and the lack of a driver in the front of the car, it will not handle as expected by the original engineers. This could cause massive oversteer. I hope they compensate for this shift in weight distribution.

Obligatory. . . (1)

saisuman (1041662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31037978)

When the car gets here, we, the inhabitants of Pike's peak, will welcome our new Audi-driving robotic overlords.

But can it beat (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038020)

Rod Millen's time

Reactionary or Predictive (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038188)

The advantage that a driver has is the cognitive ability to observe the road in front of them and make adjustments in prediction of what the conditions will be.

If a computer is responding to programmed route and responding to sensed changes (reaction), it will be too late for the car to adjust. If their computers are looking ahead and making the same kind of informed estimates (road surface type, side-slope, etc...), then I'll be really impressed!!

Interesting times with those culverts (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038288)

It's going to be interesting to see how the car detects and handles the drainage culverts. The last few miles have corrugated metal drainage culverts crossing the road periodically to carry off the snowmelt. These often get overloaded and instead you have a big mud puddle with a hard metal culvert under the mud. Humans can use a little intelligence and slow down for these. It will be interesting to see how the automated Audi handles these and other unexpected situations!

Hill climbing algorithm (2, Funny)

wurtwurt (1564647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31038428)

My understanding is that this [wikipedia.org] is generally solved but doesn't really lead to anything interesting unless you know the right formulas for the for the domain. Any news on whether they got passed formula 1?

I want this car (before it drives off a cliff)! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31038474)

I want to program it to drive past a cop in the carpool lane with a mannequin in the passenger seat wearing hat and sunglasses on a cloudy day.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?