The future race car — 150mph, and no driver

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    Interesting TED talk about autonomous cars.

    I’m still sceptical about this kind of technology. Even if it works very well, will there be an audience for it? I’m sure the majority of us, as much as we love and watch F1 and other racing series for their cars and engineering, we keep on watching for the human drama, the people, the characters and relationships. What would F1 be without Perez vs Maldonado? Or Rob Smedley’s radio comms with Massa? Or Driver press conferences?


    At least a robot car would provide better interviews than Kimi Raikkonen does.



    I certainly wouldn’t watch it.
    Without drama, mistakes and emotion racing is nothing but cars driving around in circles.
    How are we going to argue who is the best driver? And have furious YouTube arguments, involving all sorts of swearing and racist remarks to force the fact that ,Alonso is god, and Hamilton and Vettel is just his dirty slippers, down the throat of an innocent Swede?
    How are the drivers who are not there going to talk trash about each other in newspapers, that will then eventually get posted on F1Fanatic so we can all have a good laugh?
    But most importantly, if Maldonardo can’t crash into other drivers on the track, is he just going to kill innocent Venezuelans in a mad road rage to let some steam out?
    I think motorsport needs its drivers. Without them it would just be a little too clinical.



    Yes I agree. Racing is also about seeing who can maximise the grip of their car. We’d see teammates (weather and conditions permitting) to just about create identical laptimes to each other every time!



    If they drive anything like the Ai in F1 2011, then it might be the only thing more boring that NASCAR….

    I think Its an awful idea, because part of the fun of racing is having favorite drivers, each with different driving characteristics and personalities. Robots just can’t do that :/



    As they say… variety is the spice of life.

    If you had a robot doing the job, you’d have them calculating the perfect slip angles, and if they detect excessive amount of slip on one axle (passing a certain threshold) then they’d start correcting and adjusting their lines…

    I’m not saying they’d all be perfect drivers and beat any current driver on the grid, but at the end of the day, their driving would be determined by their programming. If there’s one thing programming is – it’s predictable.



    I agree with everyone here, but still, interesting technology.

    I’d love to have near driverless roads though, just sit back and be a passenger.



    One day we’ll be able to jump in our cars and it will effectively be no different to public transport.



    I’m not sure at any point there that Chris Gerdes is suggesting that autonomous racecars completely replace human racing drivers in the future. They’re simplus using the wonders of science and technology to gain a better understanding of how the best drivers on the planet drive a car, and instill that knowledge into a computer system for the benefit of future road users.

    Sport is as much about emotion as it is about physical prowess, and I think most if not all would realise that it would be very silly to propose any sport without a human element. Well, they could propose and trial it, but it wouldn’t have staying power, as, as you say, no-one would watch without the human element to relate to. You couldn’t see the English Premier League be replaced with 10 games of CPU-vs-CPU FIFA every week, could you?

    Unless it was Autonomous Robot Wars. that would be brilliant.



    This was an interesting video. The technology they showed is still young, but I dont think I would ever sit in a car driven by a bot. There are circumstances, that are unpredictable, and if a program meets an unexpected event, it wont know what to do, thats why human drivers will always be better, than bots.

    On the other hand I would love to watch autonomous cars racing each other, with different setups, and algorythms. Of course it would be different from any actual motorracing, as the programmers would become the “drivers”. But I think we still could cheer for a team, we still could have favouruite “drivers”. I know it wouldnt be as popular as todays series, but I think it has potential in the near future. Even today we have competitions like this, i.e. the TORCS offline robot championship, it is only a competition between programmers, creating AIs for a simulator, but the idea is the same. In the game world, the AIs know every parameter of the car and the track, and still there could be unexpected results. If we would add more variables to it, by using real cars and real tracks, we could end up with a great technical sport, as the changing weather, different cars, setups, and algorythms would still generate interesting and enjoyable outcomes.



    “There are circumstances, that are unpredictable, and if a program meets an unexpected event, it wont know what to do, thats why human drivers will always be better, than bots.”

    More than 70% of air crashes are caused by pilot error, but no-one would get on an aircraft with no pilot. It’s a strange statistic. Years ago Volkswagen produced a car which could autonomously navigate junctions/moving traffic etc. If it came up against something it didn’t recognise it just stopped and waited for human input, which was rarely as it was fitted with radars.



    yes, i would certainly watch an autonomous race car event/series. i’m also a fan of robocup soccer and robo-one fighting and games. i don’t think you’d say computers are totally predictable if you’ve seen autonomous puters competing against each other en masse :P



    I say humans will always be better, becuse humans can make split second decisions, knowing only fractional informations. Im sure in most cases it is the wrong decision, however making a bad decision is slightly better than not doing anything at all.

    With the VW car, the problem is, that strategy would lead to huge traffic jams, and just useless. If the car can drive itself, then the human behind the wheel is unneccesary, so why would be anyone at the wheel? But if you need someone behind the wheel ready to give input if the car stops, then why do you need the car to drive by itself?

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