The Racetrack as Classroom

May 9, 2015

Where is the best place to study car safety? The racetrack! Professor Gerdes discusses how Stanford students work with racecar drivers to build safe self-driving cars.

Professor Gerdes' laboratory studies how cars move, how humans drive cars and how to design future cars that work cooperatively with the driver or drive themselves. When not teaching on campus, he can often be found at the racetrack with students, instrumenting historic race cars or trying out their latest prototypes for the future. Vehicles in the lab include X1, an entirely student-built test vehicle, and Shelley, an Audi TT-S capable of turning a competitive lap time around the track without a human driver. Professor Gerdes and his team have been recognized with a number of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Ralph Teetor award from SAE International and the Rudolf Kalman Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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