Over the past three years, we’ve heard a great deal about Shelley, the autonomous Audi TT-S that was being co-developed between Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab and the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab.
Development for Shelley began back in 2009 and since then, the car has been blazing its trails, including its successful run up Pikes Peak in 2010.
Recently, Shelley was back in the hands of Stanford mechanical engineering Associate Professor Chris Gerdes who brought the car to the Thunderhill tracks for the latest round of high-speed tests and software upgrades. These new digs now instruct her when to brake, how tight to take turns, and when to punch the gas. Better yet, Shelley was able to complete the Thunderhill lap in under two and a half minutes, which isn’t stunningly fast, but otherwise impressive for a machine. Shelley is even getting close to the times achieved by actual human, professional drivers.
The testing is still far from completed and Shelley seems to gain new and more important layers in its quest to become one of the first fully autonomous cars. One particular sticking point that has yet to find a solution is the problem of getting a spinning wheel to grip the pavement akin to how it can recover from a slide on a patch of ice.
For now, testing and development for Shelley continues on. If you’re interested to see how the latest round of test runs went, you can check out the video above.