Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Meet a DIY racing enthusiast who wants to change the world

Hands reaching for drone against blue sky

When Chris Anderson set out to build his first drone from a Lego Mindstorms kit at home with his kids, he never imagined it would lead to the creation of 3DRobotics, one of North America’s most prominent drone companies.

On this episode of No Parking, the former WIRED Magazine editor-in-chief and founder of 3DR, DIY Drones and DIY Robocars joined Bryan Salesky and me to unpack the world of do-it-yourself autonomous vehicles.

While we talked about convolutional neural networks, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and how one would go about building an autonomous race car at home, the question that most resonated with me was, why?

“I want us [the community] to discover some technique, algorithm, approach that you, Bryan, hadn’t thought of,” he said. “That you realize is the world speaking to you as a way to change your own company.”

How can a community of amateur roboticists racing tiny homemade self-driving cars contribute to making our streets safer? For starters, lowering the barrier of entry to interact with self-driving cars in the real world and gamifying autonomous technology is an incredibly effective means of providing hands-on exposure to the next generation of self-driving engineers.

But Anderson isn’t looking to transform the self-driving industry through STEM education tools alone. Many of the automotive industry’s greatest inventions came from high-performance racing, from pushing the car to its limits in extreme, high-stakes environments. The same approach can be made for autonomous technology.

“We believe that by taking a different evolutionary path towards self-driving, one that involves nimbleness and aggressiveness, rather than slowness and safety; one that involves orders of magnitude more people; one that involves much higher risk, we might discover techniques that would lead to safer cars.”

Choose your lane

How Autonomous Vehicles Distinguish Between Bicycles and People Who Ride Them

How Autonomous Vehicles Distinguish Between Bikes and People

When it comes to how autonomous vehicles see the world, humans come first, literally. Autonomous vehicles (AVs), like the kind operated by Pittsburgh-based Argo AI, use Machine Learning to detect and classify the objects in their surroundings, identifying people...
Why The League of American Bicyclists is optimistic about autonomous vehicles

Why a Leading Cycling Advocacy Group Is Optimistic About Autonomous Vehicles

As autonomous vehicle use grows, AV companies and the League of American Bicyclists are collaborating on how to ensure cyclists and motorists can share the roads safely, even if the “motorist” is artificial intelligence software. As part of the...

Self-Driving Is Arriving Right On Time. Just Like Ice Cream Did

Seven years ago, I was a self-driving skeptic. Not of the technology. Of all the “experts” promising autonomous vehicles would be everywhere by 2020. You didn’t need to be Nostradamus to know that was ridiculous. All you needed was...
Illustration of a futuristic parking deck turned into a mixed-use space, with AVs driving by

How Autonomous Vehicles Could Help Transform Parking Lots

Researchers say it’s likely that autonomous vehicles (AVs) can help reduce the need for parking lots, opening more room for grass and trees and other elements of nature. It may not seem like it when you’re circling the block...
An illustration of an Argo autonomous vehicle in teal against a backdrop of buildings, a bicyclist, and research papers

7 Big Breakthroughs From Argo Research at CVPR 2022

The 2022 Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2022) is nearly here. Thousands of computer scientists, software engineers, and researchers from around the globe will gather in New Orleans to review and discuss their latest work in...

Researchers Predict the Future With Lidar Data

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Argo AI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research, a private-public partnership funded by Argo for advancing the autonomous-vehicle (AV) field, say they have come up with a way to use lidar data to visualize not...

Must Reads