This DeLorean DMC-12 Can Drift On Its Own
Stanford engineers have found a way to do something with a DeLorean even Doc Brown couldn’t do: convert the stainless steel sports car into a fully autonomous, electrically-powered drift car.
Granted, traveling through a la Back To The Future would be cooler, but Jon Goh, a recent mechanical engineering PhD graduate actually accomplished the drifting feat in real life, with a successful shakedown of the self-driving car at the Thunderhill Raceway in Northern California.
MARTY is a 1981 DeLorean, named after Marty McFly, but it’s also an acronym for Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control. Goh and his team in the Dynamic Design Lab swapped the original 2.85-litre V6 for batteries and twin electric motors, along with upgrading the suspension and adding a roll cage.
The car is also outfitted with various sensors and actuators that follow GPS coordinates and the algorithms on a laptop to drift through the course. But it’s not all for fun and games; the Lab is researching ways for autonomous vehicles to react in emergency situations in a far more developed way than today’s technology allows.
But why use a DeLorean?
“The way we see it, if you’re going to build a research vehicle, why not do it with some style?” says mechanical engineer Chris Gerdes.
*Images courtesy of Stanford and Jon Goh