by Brandon Butler
Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control 12/28/2019

Some geeks nerds heroes at Stanford built an electric, self-driving DeLorean, named it MARTY, and taught it to drift. This could only be better if they’d also taught it to fly.

The videos from the Stanford News page are excellent, and the entire write-up is fascinating. This is more than just doing cool tricks with cool cars, the research is meant to improve self-driving cars.

Most automated vehicles on the road have been designed to handle simpler cases of driving, such as staying in a lane or maintaining the right distance from other cars.

“We’re trying to develop automated vehicles that can handle emergency maneuvers or slippery surfaces like ice or snow,” 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.”

Another interesting aspect of the research is what could happen if the computer was able to control the braking and acceleration of each wheel independently, something a human would find impossible but an AI could very easily control. More research is being done with MARTY to continue to improve self-driving cars.