[ExI] Driverless racecars

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun Feb 15 16:09:10 UTC 2015



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2015 4:29 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Driverless racecars


>…And there is also Formula E for electric racing cars. According to my contacts at an insurance company sponsoring one of the teams (Amlin Aguri), the real challenge is that you need to recharge batteries/switch car strategically: it is not possible to run a full race on one charge. This apparently adds an element of probabilistic strategy, and some insurance guys are apparently modelling it.  Making the cars driverless seems to be the next step.  Anders Sandberg…



The control algorithms for electric cars are easier than with IC engines, but I still look forward to seeing the explosive power of gasoline coupled with state-of-the-art control theory.  I keep bringing up motorcycles for a reason.  With cars, we are already at the materials limits, so there is no good reason to imagine driverless cars will go much faster than good humans.  But with the bikes, swapping even a light rider for 10 Kg of actuators tucked low out of the wind will allow us to make bikes that go faster than any human rider.  


To press this a little further, consider the sport of stadium motocross




Beyond the stunning visuals of those bikes doing their thing with nobody aboard, consider the bikes only weigh 200 pounds, and the lightest riders are over 100, so we lose over a third of the weight.  Without a rider we might even be able to lose some of the bike itself: we no longer need a seat for instance, or fenders, or handlebars, and perhaps we could even redesign the suspension for lowered weight.  It becomes an entirely new game to design the fastest machine around that track.  Parting shot: bikes like these can be had new for 5k, and you really wouldn’t hurt the essential stuff if you crash.


I attended the original DARPA challenge in 2004 for driverless cars.  No one finished.  In that demonstration there was one bike.  We see how far we have come in 11 years with the cars.


I can imagine the next ten years being some of the most fun in racing in our lifetimes.



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