The conversation around autonomous cars often raises safety questions, much like it does around racecars. Now, graduate students at Clemson University have engineered an autonomous racecar with a Dallara carbon fibre chassis that incorporates advanced perception systems and is capable of 180mph (290kph) with a sensor configuration that is the first of its kind. A new project, named Deep Orange 12, has implications in motorsports and everyday driving safety through a host of innovations.
The autonomous vehicle prototype – which is designed as an open-wheel racecar – incorporates key technological innovations like advanced perception systems, which allow it to digitally observe its environment sufficiently fast and reliably to control the car safely at high speeds. The Clemson team integrated a robust suite of cameras, radars, long-distance LiDARs and centimetre-accuracy GPS sensors that are synchronized through ultra-precise timing protocols, and capture the full surroundings of the vehicle over a high-speed network at data rates that fill up a 1TB hard drive in 20 minutes.
The Deep Orange program and the work of the Clemson graduate students is a jumping-off point for future technological innovations and ones that can be put to use by industry partners. As part of their work, students have partnered with more than 38 entities to develop the technology behind the race-ready car.