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Vehicle Dynamics and Control At The Limits of Handling

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Self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically reduce crashes by handling critical scenarios that human drivers find challenging or lack the ability to navigate. To realize this potential, however, cars must be explicitly designed to make full use of the available friction between the tire and the road when designing and executing maneuvers. A great inspiration comes from human race car drivers, who routinely use all of the friction between the tire and the road to post the best lap time. We want to harness the same capability for vehicle safety, ultimately enabling the car to take any action allowable under the laws of physics to move the vehicle out of harm’s way. In regular testing trips to Thunderhill Raceway Park, we and work with and learn from some of the best race car drivers in the world, harnessing that knowledge to design algorithms that handle emergency scenarios on the road.

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