Stanford Automotive: designing a future of smarter cars, Part I

November 4, 2010 | Robert Scoble

Most of us probably consider ourselves good drivers, but what if our cars helped us to be better? The engineers at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) are developing the future of driving—a future that may not need us behind the wheel.

“We’re not necessarily looking at power train, tires, brakes, and so on,” says Sven Beiker, Executive Director at CARS. “We’re really looking at autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, to some extent electric vehicles. So all these things are emerging, and we’re trying to find the answer: where’s the idea of individual mobility really going with all of this?”

Beiker says there’s still a long way to go before public deployment of these advances. “You can have these things on a closed course with professional drivers, or non-drivers, right? But if you really want to have these in your neighborhood streets, it’s a completely different story. You really want to make sure that the sensors work, that the algorithms work and so on, and that’s what’s happening here. You really make sure that a vehicle can distinguish between a trash can and a child—which sounds a little bit funny to make this comparison, but if you look at the size of these objects, it’s about the same thing.”

Krisada Kritayakirana is a fourth-year PhD student in mechanical engineering at Stanford, who has been working on a car that helps his team study vehicle dynamics. What’s so cool about that? “This car can race by itself,” says Kritayakirana, “and it’s probably better than you.”

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{ 1 comment }

Chris Elliott November 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Hi Guys …

How would you feel about a road that made your vehicles quicker, safer and was powered by renewable energy? Interested?

I have design a new building system which has contained within its integrated structure the ability to generate its own power and desalinated sea water as a by-product, or vice versa. A development of this design science is a transportation system which is powered by the same energy producing structures. ‘Capturing’ the vehicles on magnet levitated platforms, RE energy propels them along an open road way passing through periodic energy producing structure. The system then moves the vehicles around the transport system, monitoring other close proximity vehicles in the system avoiding collisions and responding to touch button controls. The platforms and vehicle ‘cargo’ generating power themselves in transit. Entry and exit to the system is no more than stopping at a stop light. In this world made bankrupt by bankers I need development funds. If you are interested or would like to network, email me please. Chris Elliott

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