Collaborating Authors


Indy Autonomous Challenge -- Autonomous Race Cars at the Handling Limits Artificial Intelligence

Motorsport has always been an enabler for technological advancement, and the same applies to the autonomous driving industry. The team TUM Auton-omous Motorsports will participate in the Indy Autonomous Challenge in Octo-ber 2021 to benchmark its self-driving software-stack by racing one out of ten autonomous Dallara AV-21 racecars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first part of this paper explains the reasons for entering an autonomous vehicle race from an academic perspective: It allows focusing on several edge cases en-countered by autonomous vehicles, such as challenging evasion maneuvers and unstructured scenarios. At the same time, it is inherently safe due to the motor-sport related track safety precautions. It is therefore an ideal testing ground for the development of autonomous driving algorithms capable of mastering the most challenging and rare situations. In addition, we provide insight into our soft-ware development workflow and present our Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation setup. It is capable of running simulations of up to eight autonomous vehicles in real time. The second part of the paper gives a high-level overview of the soft-ware architecture and covers our development priorities in building a high-per-formance autonomous racing software: maximum sensor detection range, relia-ble handling of multi-vehicle situations, as well as reliable motion control under uncertainty.

Can Technology Make Football Safer?

The New Yorker

On October 4, 1986, the University of Alabama hosted Notre Dame in a game of football. Notre Dame had won the previous four contests, but this time Alabama was favored. It had a stifling defense and a swift senior linebacker named Cornelius Bennett. Ray Perkins, Alabama's head coach, said of him, "I don't think there's a better player in America." Early in the game, with the score tied, Bennett blitzed Notre Dame's quarterback, Steve Beuerlein. "I was like a speeding train, and Beuerlein just happened to be standing on the railroad track," Bennett told me recently. Football is essentially a spectacle of car crashes. In 2004, researchers at the University of North Carolina, examining data gathered from helmet-mounted sensors, discovered that many football collisions compare in intensity to a vehicle smashing into a wall at twenty-five miles per hour. Bennett, who weighed two hundred and thirty-five pounds, drove his shoulder into Beuerlein's chest and heard what sounded like a balloon being punctured--"basically, the air going out of him." Beuerlein landed on his back. He stood up, wobbly and dazed. "I saw mouths moving, but I heard no voices," he later said. After Bennett's "vicious, high-speed direct slam," as the Times put it, Alabama seized the momentum and won, 28–10. Following college, Bennett was drafted into the National Football League. Between 1987 and 1995, he played for the Buffalo Bills, and appeared in four Super Bowls. During his pro career, he made more than a thousand tackles, playing through sprains, muscle tears, broken bones, and concussions. I asked him how many concussions he'd had. "In my medical file, there are probably six." "I couldn't even begin to tell you." "I played a long time," he said. "Every week after a game, I got some sort of headache." In 1996, he signed a thirteen-million-dollar contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He received weekly injections of Toradol, an anti-inflammatory drug. "It was magic--it made me feel like I was twenty-four again," Bennett said. He helped carry Atlanta to the Super Bowl--his fifth. In 2000, at the age of thirty-five, Bennett retired and moved to Florida. He lived in a hotel in Miami's Bal Harbour area, worked on his golf handicap, and vacationed with his wife and friends in Europe and in the Napa Valley. Several of Bennett's football peers were having a far tougher time. Darryl Talley, a former Bills teammate, suffered from severe depression. Mike Webster, a Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, had become a homeless alcoholic; he died, of a heart attack, in 2002. Three years later, Terry Long, another former Steeler, committed suicide by drinking antifreeze. Andre Waters, a former Philadelphia Eagles safety, killed himself with a gunshot to the head. A neuropathologist named Bennet Omalu autopsied Webster, Long, and Waters, and detected a pattern: each had a high concentration of an abnormal form of a protein, called tau, on his brain.

Study tracks 31-year history of female sexualization in video games

PBS NewsHour

Lara Croft, famed video game icon, fights her way through jungles and ruins -- all while sporting skimpy clothes or a bikini. The hypersexualization of her character isn't out of the ordinary, according to a new study that examined the history of female objectification in video games over 31 years. The trend is most prominent in male-oriented fighting games like Mortal Kombat and games rated Teen and above. "The gaming industry has faced a lot of scrutiny," Teresa Lynch, media communications researcher at Indiana University, said. "It's realizing it's marginalizing half its audience [by] making women characters pander to the male gaze."