Back to the Future with Self Drifting DeLoreans!

Back to the Future with Self Drifting DeLoreans!* Click the image below and get ...

Back to the Future with Self Drifting DeLoreans!

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Great Scott! A Delorean that can drift? By itself? Is Ken Block sitting in a room in LA hooning this thing remotely? Today is the day that Marty comes back to the future in the second part of the Back to the Future saga, so sharing this seemed appropriate. Engineers at Stanford making a stainless steel car do donuts is not something you see every day.

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A team of researchers at Stanford University has taken the normally terrible DMC-12 Delorean and turned into a donut machine with a very unorthodox approach. The car is completely autonomous. If they can make an autonomous car slay tires like this, why can’t they make one drive down the road without smashing down stop signs? Somebody sign Fred Jackson up.

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The real use of an autonomous car is not to burn rubber in circles, but the car nuts at Stanford’s Revs Center have their reasons. “We think automated vehicles should be able to execute any manuever 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 the Revs Center. Next thing we know, autonomous cars will be at Formula drift racing Ken Block and Gittin Jr. for the gold.

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The best part is their name for this monstrosity. They call it the Delorean MARTY: the Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for yaw control. That’s a fancy way of saying, this thing does donuts for “scientific purposes.” Their inspiration came from rally drivers and drifters that take their cars to the limits yet stay in control. A lot of these drivers look like they’re on the fringe of disaster the entire race, but they have it figured out. The team at the Revs Center thought that a computer should be able to use one of these maneuvers if it is the best way out of a bad situation.

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The DeLorean understeers so bad in stock form that they had to do countless modifications just so it could hold a drift. They installed all new steering, a custom steer-by-wire system, new coil springs, a roll cage and other tweaks. The car has an electric motor powering each rear wheel which Sanford says totals 4,100 pound-feet of torque…

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As car enthusiasts, we don’t like the idea of a car driving us. Let’s think about it from a different perspective. All of the people who can’t drive if their life depended on it, which it does, will be sitting in a Prius getting delivered to their workplace. This means that they will be out of our way. This should make the roadways more fun to drive.. I hope. When the team at Stanford figures out how to get the car to do flaming burnouts reminiscent of the movie, I’ll truly be impressed.

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