When Stanford’s autonomous car Shelley nears speeds of 120 mph as it tears around a racetrack without a driver, observers’ natural inclinations are to exchange high-fives or simply mouth, “wow”.
Chris Gerdes and his students, however, flip open laptops and begin dissecting the car’s performance. How many g-forces did Shelley pull through turns 14 and 15? How did it navigate the twisty chicane? What did the braking forces look like through the tight turn 5?
For the past several years, Gerdes and his students have been testing their autonomous driving algorithms with Shelley, a custom-rigged Audi TTS, on the 3-mile track at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California. Although the speedometer needle sometimes flies past 110 mph, the car spends a good deal of the course maneuvering at speeds of 50 to 75 mph. Continue reading Stanford engineers test autonomous car algorithms in quest for safer driving