Driving a car remotely using an iPhone – there’s an app for THAT?!

Thu, Oct 29, 2009


And you thought starting your car with your iPhone was impressive?  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Students and researchers in the Artificial Intelligence Group at the Freie University of Berlin are pushing “there’s an app for that” to new extremes.  In the video below, students hooked up a Dodge Caravan with two omnidirectional video cameras, laser sensors, GPS, and a drive-by-wire system as a means to control it remotely via Wi-FI.  The project was first drawn up as an entry into the 2007 DARPA Urban Grand Challenge, where the team placed in the semi-finals, but failed to advance further.  Now, a spin-off of the group called Appirion have hooked up the vehicle to an iPhone, making controlling the minivan seem like an iPhone game come to life.  Using the iPhone, the “driver” can steer the car, slam on the breaks, and adjust the acceleration all by using the iPhone’s touchscreen.  Check out a video of the car in action below.

But don’t think that you can try this at home, even if you wanted to.  The folks over at Freie University are autonomous robot building machines.  The AI group there is a 2-time world champion in robotic soccer, and having won the European championship five times.  So yeah, they definitely know what they’re doing.


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