Stanford University has built an incredible robot which only exists for the purposes of absolutely ripping. This is MARTY, an autonomous electric-swapped DMC12, and it has been programmed to
kill shred tires around a 1-kilometer drift course. You know, for science.
This may be the absolute pinnacle of my personal interests, combining 1980s Italdesign styling, electric mobility, and ridiculous hoonage. And I suspect it may appeal to many of you, as well. Just look at how violent this bad boy can be. Despite being a machine itself, it seems to have zero mechanical sympathy.
This project isn’t just shred for the sake of shred. These students are learning about and developing their own autonomous driving tech. The whole point of this project was to test the limits of autonomy in a low-grip environment.
“We’re trying to develop automated vehicles that can handle emergency maneuvers or slippery surfaces like ice or snow,” project leader and mechanical engineer Chris Gerdes said. “We’d like to develop automated vehicles that can use all of the friction between the tire and the road to get the car out of harm’s way. We want the car to be able to avoid any accident that’s avoidable within the laws of physics.”
Evasive maneuvers. That’s something that future autonomous systems will need to know how to manage if we’re going to trust our lives and infrastructure to their processors. This appeals to both the gods of science and the gods of hoonage.
So this not just entertaining for us and edifying for these students, but it also may be developing the future of autonomous tech. This makes me much more optimistic about the applications of autonomy than anything the major tech companies beta testing on public streets have done. Will it ever be technologically and economically feasible? Time will tell, but these Stanford students might be the ones to push it over the edge.
And just because this composite overhead shot absolutely rips, it must be included here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
How do you think it would fare in a Formula Drift round?