Watch Stanford's self-driving Audi hit 120 mph while navigating a racetrack

By midian182
Mar 3, 2016
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  1. Self-driving vehicles aren’t known for going fast; Google’s cars are limited to 25 mph, and one was even pulled over by a California police officer last year for driving too slowly. But this doesn’t mean that they're unable to hit high speeds, as engineers from Stanford University proved with their 120 mph autonomous Audi.

    Professor Chris Gerdes and his students have spent the past several years developing and improving the autonomous driving algorithms and sensors on a custom-rigged Audi TTS called Shelley.

    "A race car driver can use all of a car's functionality to drive fast," says Gerdes. "We want to access that same functionality to make driving safer."

    While the car has reached around 120 mph on faster sections of the course, the team keeps it around 50 mph to 75 mph - the speeds where accidents are most likely to happen.

    By monitoring Shelley’s speed, handling, g-force, braking, and tire friction on the 3-mile track, the team can use the data to improve automatic collision avoidance software, like the kind used in Google’s upcoming autonomous vehicle.

    The car can make it around the Thunderhill Raceway, located in Willows, California, almost as quickly as an experienced racer. The research has already resulted in several graduates going on to top jobs in the automotive industry.

    Students are broke up into teams during race sessions, with each group performing a different type of research. “Once you get to the track, things can go differently from what you expect,” Gerdes said. “So it’s an excellent lesson of advanced planning, but also how to come together as a team and deal with changing priorities.”

    Hopefully, the work of Gerdes and his students will lead to the safer, and much faster, self-driving cars of the future. If you want to see Shelley in action, check out the video below.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +307

    When it can drift corners and burn doughnuts the video will be more interesting
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Not very challenging when it is the only car/obstacle on the track.
  4. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    Audi got their RS7 driverless car to 150mph on an F1 course last year, on set courses with no obstacles with the level of tech that autonomous cars have this is not hard I think.
  5. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    Google limits the cars purposely, it's not that a Lexus (Toyota) can't go 120mph, it's that the software limits the top speed of the cars by limiting the amount of throttle the engine receives.

    The studio rigged the bumblebee camaro to do doughnuts without a driver, but it was drive by wire, so there was a driver, just not in the car.
    You could say that all "driverless" cars have a driver, it's just not a human driver.

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