Self-Driving, Electric DeLorean Does Some Great Drifting: Video
In recent years, there haven’t been a lot of academic institutions that have been as aggressive in pioneering automotive technology as Stanford University. In 2009 alone, Stanford collaborated with the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab to develop autonomous versions of the Audi TTS and the Volkswagen Passat. The university’s dedication to the advancement of self-driving technology reared its head once again when Stanford’s Rev Center released a video of Marty, an autonomous DeLorean that can apparently do all sorts of things short of time travel.
Not surprisingly, the video was released on October 21, 2015 — otherwise known as Back to the Future Day — as a nod to the iconic movie that launched the careers of Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and the DeLorean DMC-12. According to Stanford Rev Center Director, Chris Gerdes, the project began back in 2013 when the Rev Center undertook a project to develop an autonomous vehicle that could perform a variety of stunts, including drifting.
Ultimately, the research decided to use the iconic DeLorean to demonstrate this new technology. It even named the car MARTY, which stands for Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control. Fans of the movie franchise should also appreciate the hat tip to Fox’s character in the movie, Marty McFly.
The result of this two-year labor of love is pretty incredible. As the video shows, MARTY actually has serious drifting skills. More importantly, it’s baking all those donuts without the assistance of a driver! But, that’s not just the extent of MARTY’s capabilities — the Rev Center eventually wants to turn it loose against an actual driver on a track under race conditions. We’ll be waiting for that to happen, and who knows, there might come a point in time when this DeLorean might actually be able to time travel. Ok, that’s a little far-fetched, but we can still dream, right?