David Belo, John Dales, and Camilo Pardo on driver­less tech

● THE FOR­MULA ONE EN­GI­NEER

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - CONTENTS -

At MCLAREN GROUP, DAVID BELO says, au­to­mated sys­tems will al­low driv­ers to push the lim­its of their ve­hi­cles.

Q: MCLAREN’S HERITAGE IS IN RAC­ING—IT’S HARD TO IMAG­INE THAT WITH­OUT DRIV­ERS.

A: Yeah, the driver is the big part of the show, and in many re­spects it’s what peo­ple go to see races for. On the other hand, it’s also the tech­ni­cal chal­lenge—one of the big­gest you could as­pire to solve as an en­gi­neer. The spec­ta­cle is just as much about the fierce­ness of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the driv­ers as it is about the marvel of what teams are com­ing out with this year. I think there is a lot of ex­cite­ment for au­ton­o­mous driv­ing within For­mula One com­pa­nies for the same rea­son. Some­thing that has been tra­di­tion­ally such a hard prob­lem—driv­ing—is now within our reach with these in­ter­est­ing and com­plex al­go­rithms. At the same time, we don’t de­sign with­out the hu­man in the loop. Q: WHAT OTHER AD­VAN­TAGES ARE THERE TO DO­ING THAT?

A: Whether it’s Tesla or GM or Porsche or a rac­ing com­pany, you have to take into ac­count that you’re de­sign­ing this ma­chine for a hu­man to ex­ploit it. I think what makes us and some of the other com­pa­nies work­ing in this field in­ter­est­ing is we’re start­ing to use ve­hi­cle sim­u­la­tors to un­der­stand how the brain is in­ter­pret­ing a lot of the sig­nals the driver needs to in­ter­pret in or­der to re­act to what’s hap­pen­ing in the car and change the con­trol of the car. That work is just as im­por­tant as de­vel­op­ing the en­gine to pro­duce three more horse­power. The work in­ter­acts to achieve a lap time that’s lower or to get a pas­sen­ger car from point A to point B with a higher like­li­hood of no ac­ci­dents.

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