On DeLoreans, Autonomous Systems, and the Drive to be Awesome

Last year, Jon Goh earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford. While completing a doctoral degree is a monumental accomplishment by any standard, one requiring an awe-inspiring amount of dedication and hard work, it’s not the kind of thing a podcast at a university more than 2,000 miles away would typically hear about.

But then we saw the video.

In it, a DeLorean—the ’80s car made iconic by the movie Back to the Future—accelerated, turned, drifted, and literally burned rubber through a highly complicated race course … and it did it all by itself.

Right away, we knew we had to try to talk to Jon, the guy who had shared the video and whose research at the Stanford Dynamic Design Lab was integral to building this incredible car, particularly the piece that programmed it to expertly wind its way through the course that only the most advanced drift racers would dare tackle.

Several Twitter direct messages later, there he and host Ted Fox were chatting over Zoom about everything that went into turning a standard DeLorean into *this* DeLorean as well as the future of autonomous vehicles and why on Earth you’d do all of this in the first place.

You know, beyond the fact that it’s just super cool.

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About the Podcast:

With a Side of Knowledge is a podcast produced at the University of Notre Dame. It features interviews with fascinating people from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch—or if we’re really in a pinch, coffee.

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May 14, 2020

Science and TechnologyMechanical EngineeringCarsStanfordAutonomous VehiclesNotre DameWith a Side of Knowledge