I recently stumbled upon a Ted talk on autonomous vehicles by Chris Gerdes, Stanford Mechanical Engineer. In his talk he discusses robotic race cars and the mapping of professional race car driver’s mental workloads in order to create a better autonomous vehicle. Previously the group built an autonomously drifting car and a car that tackled Thunder Hill Raceway, in various weather conditions, and Pikes Peak all without a driver. Now they aim to study actually race car drivers in order to create a more intuitive vehicle that can further push the level of ability of a driver.
One thing they noticed was a racer’s mental workload increased while navigating difficult turns but did not seem to change much during dramatic maneuvers, like when the rear of the car starts sliding out. This is likely due to it being an instinctual behavior and more similar to a reflex than a thought out procedure. They also noticed that in comparison to a calculated “fastest line” around a racetrack, a professional driver’s line is extremely similar (and they are able to replicate it in a variety of cars and conditions). Both of these examples show the amazing capabilities of a human and how far they can push a machine. So by studying the folks who push cars to their limits, the researchers hope to create vehicles capable of giving individuals a level of ability most of them have never seen.
See the Ted talk and videos of their other autonomous cars below.
Chris Gerdes Ted Talk –
P1 Autonomous Drifitng –
Shelly Autonomous Pikes Peak –
Here is a piece by 60 Minutes on Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler’s CEO, and his part in turning the automaker around.
Before the rain:
– Dust off the vehicle to remove the collected dust and debris. This will prevent the dirt from running around on your paint and might even help the rain give you a better car wash!
– A quick way to protect your paint pre-rain is to use a quick detailer which will leave a thin coat of slippery silicone and wax. This will allow the water to run off your vehicle faster, dry quicker and prevent less particulates from sticking to the surface.
After the rain:
– If you have not prepared your car before the rain, it is really a good idea to get a complete car wash after the rain as soon as possible. You must have noticed that after the rain cars get dirtier because the wet surface attracts more dust and air borne particles (if you follow the above mentioned procedure you will minimize these issues). This way you will not allow the air borne debris to sit there long and damage the surface. Air borne debris can be acidic in nature and it can etch the painted surface if it is left for too long.
– After removing the dirt, I recommend waxing your car which will add a layer of protection and help for the next storm (which hopefully won’t be for a while).
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