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.

Maximum fun, minimum funds: this self-driving electric Batmobile shows how hackers are making even the unlikeliest vehicles autonomous.
Maximum fun, minimum funds: this self-driving electric Batmobile shows how hackers are making even the unlikeliest vehicles autonomous.

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.”

To hear the whole conversation, tune into this week’s AI Podcast, by subscribing via iTunesGoogle Play Music, or Soundcloud.

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.

To get the AI Podcast delivered to your iPhone or Android, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play Music.

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  • http://www.gatewaytechnolabs.com/automotive-it-solutions/automotive-management-services Stephanie Reinhardt

    This is looking very nice Kiddie Cars. I think, is this very costly. I wish to try this. When get launched in our local market? This is appreciating the work.

  • Jianju

    Siri, is that you??