There's some wonderful irony in seeing a Logitech G27 wheel being used in this application.
Remember all those nights spent thrashing digital cars around the race tracks of your preferred gaming system? Remember how much money you spent building a sweet virtual racing rig, complete with a force-feedback steering wheel and pedals? Remember when your parents, or significant other, or possibly both, ripped you a new one for spending all that money and told you nobody ever got anywhere playing video games? That experience might come in handy after all, and in the lucrative world of autonomous vehicle testing no less.
In documents obtained by Business Insider, Apple’s current foray into the autonomous world includes a training program that will teach testers in the company’s autonomous cars how to regain manual control. Avid sim racers will immediately recognize the crux of this training program as a Logitech force-feedback gaming wheel, presumably the G27 based on the sketchy black-and-white photo that was part of Apple’s documents.
Per those documents, individuals will sit at the makeshift rig and be subjected to seven tests covering a range of speeds and maneuvers. Using the wheel or the brakes will disengage the electronic mode instantly, but operators are able to work the accelerator.
Apple currently has three Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, and the company recently received its first permit to start testing them in California. In a letter to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration last December, Apple’s Director of Product Integrity Steve Kenner said the company was “investing heavily in the study of machine learning….”
For the record, Logitech no longer sells the G27 steering wheel new, but a quick check on eBay has good used systems selling for around $200.
We’re just kidding Apple. This sounds like a novel approach to training, and since the Motor1 office is full of car fanatics who also love simulated racing, we totally approve this testing methodology.
Source: Business Insider