Meet Hack Rod, the world’s first car designed by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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This is Hack Rod, the first car designed by AI and first vehicle with a nervous system

A company called Primordial Research Project is developing a car which is fully built by artificial intelligence. What’s more, the car is called Hack Rod, could well be the first vehicle with a nervous system.

Hack Rod is a collaboration between Primordial Research Project, design software giant Autodesk and media company Bandito Brothers.

The key persons behind Hack Road are Autodesk research fellow Mickey McManus and Bandito Brothers CEO and creative director Mouse McCoy. The idea of building Hack Road came to McCoy. Two years ago, McCoy told Fast Company, he decided to figure out the future of making things. “I knocked on the door of Autodesk,” he recalled, and ended up meeting McManus, who soon became inspired to see how his interest in digital fabrication and machine learning could be applied to the trillion-dollar auto industry.

Hack Road uses new hardware approach like like 3-D printing. His idea was to leverage machine learning. After all, the Internet of Things, “all these trillions of computers, are bored. They’ve got sensors….they’re starting to form their own opinions. [And] what’s in self-driving cars today are in your shoes tomorrow. That’s Moore’s Law,” explained McManus.

Autodesk had new tools built around the idea of reality capture—harnessing data points through photography, laser scanning, and other methods, that could then be plugged into computer systems and used to build 3-D models. McCoy saw that the Autodesk’s reality capture can be used to build a complete car.



Fast Company notes that the team developed a prototype vehicle chassis, complete with hundreds of sensors, and took it out to California’s desolate Mojave Desert. They came up with  a car resembling Shelby Cobra and powered by a Ducati engine. McCoy said that the goal was to get the same power-to-weight ratio as a Ferrari, despite it weighing just 1,000 pounds.

This is Hack Rod, the first car designed by AI and first vehicle with a nervous system

The driver of the car was hooked up with an EEG and other sensors to collect all sort of data that could put a Formula 1 driver to shame. They feeded all the data from this automotive nervous system and plugged it into Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher, a generative design software system that takes input of design objectives—including types of materials, functional goals, methods of manufacturing, performance criteria, and even cost limits—and spits out numerous design alternatives to satisfy all those requirements.

The Hack Road will be unveiled this week at Autodesk University—the company’s annual training and developers conference in Las Vegas. Still, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass will highlight the Hack Rod’s progress during his AU keynote, and the team will soon return to the Mojave to continue its work.

Resource : Fast Company

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