This DeLorean Doesn't Fly, But It Does Drive Itself

Where they're going, they still need roads. But at least they don't need a human to steer.

While it's no time machine, this self-driving electric DeLorean is one of the cleverest "Back to the Future" homages we've ever seen.

On Tuesday, students from Stanford University's Revs Program showed off the car, aptly named MARTY, to media in California. The stunt came just in time for Back to the Future Day on Wednesday, Oct. 21, the same day that Marty McFly visits the future in "Back to the Future Part II."

In the video below, the students show off the vehicle's paces, which add up to it doing some extreme donuts.

Stanford's self-driving DeLorean was built in partership with Renovo Motors, an electric car startup.

MARTY, which stands for "multiple actuator research test bed for yaw control," is designed to study the ability of self-driving technology to adjust to extreme driving situations. In this case, the researchers are exploring how well an autonomous car can "drift," or steer through turns at a high speed while the rear wheels lose traction.

As Lauren Goode reports at the Verge, Stanford's MARTY isn't the first self-driving car to behave like a professional racing vehicle, but it's definitely the first autonomous DeLorean that can do this stuff. 

As Dr. Emmett Brown might say, if you're going to make a self-drifting car, you might as well do it with style.

Over at Recode, Mark Bergen reported that the demonstration of Stanford's DeLorean attracted an interesting audience in California: some Apple employees.

I can't imagine why they might be curious.

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