Autonomous Car Outperforms Professional Race Driver

A souped-up autonomous Audi TTS called "Shelley" was given its head on the Thunderhill Raceway Park in Northern California. How did it perform compared to racetrack CEO and amateur touring class champion David Sodden?


(Autonomous Audi versus professional driver)

To get the cars up to speed, the Stanford team have been studying drivers, even attaching electrodes to their heads to monitor brain activity in the hope of learning which neural circuits are working during difficult manouvres.

...Shelley was faster by 0.4 of a second.

When I saw the video, I immediately thought about the AutoM8s from Daniel Suarez' outstanding 2009 novel Daemon. The car is driven by an AI with an interest in performance:

Suddenly, the car engine roared into life. It revved several times. The wheels turned left, then right.

Khan grinned. "It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!"

Suddenly the car's engine raced, and it laid down rubber, accelerating madly along the asphalt track...

The Lincoln was weaving from side to side, then it suddenly slammed on the brakes and screeched to a halt. It peeled out suddenly again and went into a power slide, whipping its tail around. It roared forward again, building up speed on the straightaway, then wrenched its wheels into another slide, and came out facing in the other direction - still accelerating into a bootlegger reverse.

McCruder smiled. "It's testing the properties of the car."

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