Shelley: The Driver-Less Race Car Named After a Pikes Peak Legend

April 9 2010, 10:24 AM

Her name is Shelley and she loves rough roads, accelerating quickly, and negotiating hairpin turns. Just like the first woman to win the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Michelle Mouton, for whom she was named, Shelley prides herself on being a tough competitor. The difference, however, is that Shelley isn't a person. She's a high-performance Audi sports coupe that doesn't even need a driver. The Stanford University drivers who created the self-driving car will haul it to the Colorado Springs area this fall to see how she does in a high-speed run up Pikes Peak's steep grades and treacherous switchbacks, writes The Associated Press. Though the technology is years away from a common use, automotive researchers have already created experimental vehicles that can drive long distances or navigate city streets without a driver. What makes Shelley different is that she's a racer. "What we're trying to do is create an autonomous race car, an autonomous rally car, so a car that can drive itself up to the very limits of handling," says Christian Gerdes, a Stanford engineering professor who directs the university's Center for Automotive Research. Check out Wired's video of Shelley.