Feeds

Robot cars can now do a Rockford into a parking space

Blagger/spec-ops J-turn tactic automated

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Vids At last robot-car boffins have achieved something useful: they have developed a vehicle which is capable of carrying out a J-turn of the sort favoured by stunt drivers, criminals and undercover operatives - precisely into a parking space.

Here's a vid* uploaded by J Zico Kolter, PhD student at Stanford university's Computer Science department, showing the type of research you need to carry out to win your doctorate there:

Sharp-eyed viewers will note that there is a person in the driver's seat, but Kolter assures viewers that this individual (named Dave) has nothing to do with the handling.

"I happen to know that Dave (the safety driver) is much less capable of driving that maneuver than the computer :-)", he writes.

The research is described in more detail in this vid*:

Kolter and his colleagues refer to the robocar's technique of going from speedy reverse to face in the direction of travel as a "sliding park manoeuvre". However the trick is more widely known as a J-turn, or in some circles as a "Rockford" (from its frequent employment by beloved telly 'tec of yesteryear Jim Rockford) or even perhaps as a "Moonshiner's turn".

It is favoured by criminals and others who may need to make an abrupt escape from roadblocks or ambushes, as an alternative to a conventional handbrake or bootlegger turn where a car going forward skids round to face the other way.

With the J-turn a stopped or slowing car facing the wrong way can use the good initial acceleration usually offered by reverse gear to extract itself from trouble, then swing round and drive away forwards without loss of time.

The manoeuvre is obviously useful for ne'er-do-wells seeking to avoid a chat with lawmen occupying the road ahead. It is also taught to British undercover operators (for instance those from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment) as a means of escaping from opposition roadblocks or ambushes.

There's proper tech detail available from Kolter and his fellow robocar boffins here in pdf. ®

*These are Flash vids from YouTube. Bad luck, fanbois.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.