Just how good will autonomous cars get? Watch this!!!


May 13, 2010

It's the kind of spectacular driving stunt we expect of James Bond or Frank Martin (Jason Statham in the Transporter film series). Slam the car in reverse, plant the gas pedal against the metal in a screech of tires, wait for momentum to pick up then flick the wheel to perform a faultless backwards 180 degree pirouette that slides a US$100,000 Aston Martin/Audi into an impossibly tight parking space. Only celluloid superheroes can drive like this and get it right every time... oh, and autonomous vehicles. Faultless driving stunts are not normally associated with computers and autonomous vehicles but check out this video because it'll help get everyone accustomed to the concept! Computers will eventually out-drive, out-think and out-perform humans on every level and this clip of autonomous supervehicle Stanley shows that out-driving us all will be sooner rather than later.

Unlike human beings, autonomous vehicles can be expected to regularly improve their performance by better than 100%, at least in accordance with and maybe even outpacing Moore's Law. Just a few years back at the first DARPA Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles, few teams managed to get out of the car park. Then Stanley, the love child of Stanford University's Stanford Racing Team and Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) won the second (2005) DARPA Grand Challenge, claiming the US$2 million prize and becoming the poster child of the robotics industry. The team's next major start was a second place in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and now Stanley's children are quickly learning tricks such as that shown in the video.

We've already mentioned the team's intention to tackle the Pike's Peak Hill Climb with another of the VW stable – an Audi TT.

For those who have their masculinity entwined with their ability to drive an automobile, might we suggest a spot of therapy.

This is the video associated with the Audi TT preparations for Pikes Peak:

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Whats with the guy in the passenger seat?!? (at 0:10s). Do they need him as a redundant system in case the automated one fails? I thought a self parking Prius was flash...I wished mine could park this way! :)


Actually, you don\'t want to park the way that car parked unless you can get new tires for free.


The rubber would be worth the look on peoples faces...sadly fun with a vehicle always comes at a cost


Driving in the future is going to be a lot of fun. \"Sorry officer, I\'ll be sue to have the computer looked at\".


here are some more autonomous car equipment that surely promises the future ....mostly on the body fabrics and tagged up sensors

Abhishek Jain
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