The Self-Driving DeLorean

Where we’re going, we don’t need drivers

By The Editors
October 21, 2015 9:00 am

Hoverboards. The Cubs winning the Series. Sequel fatigue. Back to the Future II’s predictions for 2015 were a mixed bag.

One thing they missed: a self-driving, electric DeLorean. It’s real, it kicks ass and it’s arrived just in time for Back to the Future Day.

Taking notes from motosport rally racers, MARTY (Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control) is the creation of a team of Stanford University gearheads who bought a used Delorean for $22k in 2013. After a couple years of tinkering, it can expertly drift and execute some pretty impressive donuts … sans pilot.

Should driverless cars really be engineered to perform stunts? “We think automated vehicles should be able to execute any maneuver within the physical limits of the vehicle to get out of harm’s way,” says Chris Gerdes, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of Stanford’s Revs Center. To achieve that, the team customized the car’s power-steering mechanism and constructed a specialized steer-by-wire system to improve the stability while handling.

With one motor attached at each wheel, MARTY packs a mind-numbing 4,100 pound-feet of torque. Good for 88 MPH … and beyond.

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