[ExI] self-driving cars again

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Jul 16 00:38:41 UTC 2012

Apologies for the overposting today, but not for replying to my own message,
this being considered fair game here.

>... On Behalf Of spike

>...Yahoos have been racing up that road in hotrods since as long as there
have been hotrods.  The best times are so fast, it would require an
expensive car to challenge even an average human driver.  But what about
racing down Pikes Peak?  There you need really good brakes, which are cheap
compared to really good engines... spike


I had an even better idea: a robot race down Pikes Peak with an unpowered
vehicle.  That greatly simplifies the braking problem, since the vehicle
would already be extremely light, and we already have motorcycle disk brakes
that could easily handle anything that a downhill racer would encounter.  It
makes the task of software development somewhat simpler: speed control is
one dimensional, with the only control being the brakes.  In fact we already
have electrically actuated brakes: some trailer have them.  That lets us use
entirely off-the-shelf parts, a trailer brake controller and servo-calipers.
Oh man, this would be so simple, even I might able to build a car that would
do that.  We might be able to use an existing dune buggy frame, modify it
for this course by lowering the suspension.   Then it becomes entirely a
software development challenge (not that it would be easy.)

Idea: you could rig up a treble anchor hook, in case you fail to make a
turn.  The computer drops that hook, if it is lucky, the hook catches
something that will hold, a shock cord stops the vehicle before it gets
completely wrecked at the bottom of the ravine, the apes come and haul it
back up, perhaps with little or no damage.

I have a college buddy who lives in Highlands Ranch.  Perhaps we could park
the hardware at his house between record attempts.

I can imagine this becoming a really popular sport.  Remember that once you
go into the record books, you stay there forever, even if some other yahoo
comes along later and breaks your record.  The first autonomous unpowered
vehicle down Pike's sets a record, regardless of how slow it goes.


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