The first stage towards autonomous driving is getting someone else to do the hard work for you.
The upcoming Gran Turismo Sport title exclusively available for the PlayStation 4 certainly has some stunning visuals, but it still can’t quite match reality. In an attempt to blur the lines between video games and the real world, Nissan has decided to modify a GT-R to make it controllable via a standard DualShock 4 controller taken from Sony’s video game console.
This one-of-a-kind Godzilla is equipped with four robots in charge of doing all the work by steering, accelerating, and braking the car as well as operating the transmission based on the input received from the unmodified controller. These robots are by no any means slow as a total of six computers mounted at the back of the supercar update the controls up to an amazing 100 times per second.
A micro-computer is responsible for interpreting the signals generated by the DualShock controller and these are then sent to the GT-R in a way that the onboard systems can understand them. Nissan says its remote controlled machine can be wirelessly operated at distances of up to 1,000 metres.
To prove that it all works as advertised, Nismo driver and GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough was tasked by Nissan to test the GT-R/C at Silverstone where the robotised performance car reached 130 mph and averaged 76mph driving round the track. His fastest lap was recorded at 1:17.47 – all while he was actually flying over the track in a helicopter.
Celebrating 20 years of Nissan involvement in the Gran Turismo franchise, the wirelessly controlled GT-R received additional changes as the engineers also installed two independent safety systems that work on different frequencies. In case the 'driver' loses control of the car, two extra operators automatically kick in to cut the engine and apply the brakes, thus reducing the risks of an accident.
This unusual demonstration doesn’t mark the end of the Nissan GT-R/C since it will go on tour round UK schools in 2018 to serve as a promotional tool to get students interested in engineering, math, science and technology.
Gallery: Nissan GT-R/C
Nissan GT-R, operated remotely by a gaming controller, tops 130 mph at Silverstone
The one-off project car celebrates the release of Gran Turismo Sport and marks 20 years of Nissan involvement in Gran Turismo
LONDON – Nissan has created the ultimate remote-control car for gamers – the Nissan GT-R /C.
Celebrating the release of Gran Turismo Sport – and marking 20 years of Nissan involvement in the Gran Turismo gaming series – the one-off project car was extensively modified to be driven entirely by a DualShock®4 controller. Gran Turismo Sport will be released in the U.S. on October 17, in Europe and Australia on October 18, and in Japan on October 19.
The GT-R /C was put through its paces by NISMO athlete and GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone's famous National Circuit. Mardenborough controlled the GT-R /C from the cockpit of a helicopter. On Mardenborough's fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R /C averaged 76 mph/122 kph and reached a top speed of 131 mph/211 kph.
The GT-R /C is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle. Six computers mounted in the rear of the car update the controls at up to 100 times a second.
The unmodified DualShock®4 connects to a micro-computer that interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R /C's onboard systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometer.
To help Mardenborough judge the vehicle's speed through the corners, a Racelogic VBOX Motorsport sensor was installed to relay speed data to a LCD display in the helicopter cockpit.
The GT-R /C is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.
"This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff," said Mardenborough. "The GT-R /C has brought my two worlds together – the virtual of gaming and the reality of motorsport – in a way I never thought possible. The response from the car when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be. JLB Design has done an incredible job at making everything respond really well. Steering, acceleration and braking were all intelligently configured, allowing for controlled application so I could really get a feel through the corners and hold it steady down the fast straights. Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131 mph at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience. Now that's innovation that excites!"
Now racing full-time for Nissan in Japan, Mardenborough starred in the latest round of the Super GT Championship last weekend in Thailand, qualifying on the front row and setting the fastest lap of the race.
In 2018, the Nissan GT-R /C will be used in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the UK to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects.