AI Podcast: How AI Turns Kiddie Cars Into Fast and Frugal Autonomous Racers
Take brains, a few hundred bones and a pink Barbie jeep. What have you got? For inventive hackers, a new sport filled with f-words — fast, furious, frugal.
Billed as the world’s most affordable autonomous race, it’s just the latest sign of how ubiquitous the technology powering autonomous devices of all kinds — from electronic brains to increasingly sophisticated sensors — is becoming.
“It’s something that’s only been possible in the last few years,” said Jim Burke, a graphic artist and founder of the Power Racing Series, in a conversation Michael Copeland, host of our AI Podcast. “So it seemed like a good time to jump into it and start experimenting.”
Of course, experimenting is what the Power Racing Series is all about. For years, the series has been extracting maximum fun — for spectators and participants alike — from heavily customized versions of the cars you can pick up for your kid at the nearest Toys R Us.
The idea behind the Power Racing Series’ latest effort — which brings autonomous vehicles into the mix — is to create an event where the rules are instantly understandable to the crowds who gather to watch, and participants are given responsibilities far broader than their budgets.
“You’re building a car out of junk,” Burke says. “I want to have a league where you’re given the maximum potential responsibility to build something from the ground up, because you learn so much from doing that.”
And if you missed Episode 5 of the AI Podcast, it’s worth a listen: Lynn Richards, head of the Congress for New Urbanism, and Charles Marohn, head of Strong Towns, talk about where AI’s taking cities next.