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Hardware Hacking Linux Build Hardware

Russian Startup Offers Wireless Remote Controller For Cars 65

DeviceGuru writes "A Russian startup called Virt2real has produced a small $120 Linux-based WiFi controller board for remote control and video observation applications, and has demonstrated its use in a remote controlled car. Inspired by Back to the Future and James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Virt2real's Bond Car demo (YouTube video) shows a Vauxhall (Opel) Vectra being remotely controlled by an iPad via WiFi. The iPad interface includes touchscreen-based steering wheel, brakes, and accelerator, which are mirrored in the car by a mechanical contraption that physically turns the steering wheel and pushes the brake and accelerator pedals. The company is now accepting orders for the first 1,000 of its Virt2real controller board, and is working on a Virt2real-based Bond Car it that will work with most cars."

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Russian Startup Offers Wireless Remote Controller For Cars

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  • So basically it's a kit to make your own drone out of any aerial craft you can get your hands on? I wonder how long before someone puts one in a full-size car...
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      a full-size car...

      The Opel fan club would like a word with you.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )
      Ehhh, what? No way that's going to be used in cars ever, an that's totally not what TFA is talking about, either.
    • We created our solution as a "toolkit" for adding a internet remote-control and observation functions to any device, starting from coffemachine and up to giant human-like robots. :-) As for aerial experiments - for planes it is possible to use analogue video only, because delays like 0,1 sec is critical. virt2real allows you, for example, capture a digital image, than add additional information vai OSD, and after that give this signal to analogue transmitter. WiFi, even with a booster, is not a good choice
  • is iPad included?
  • The guys from 'Myth Busters' are laughing.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      They should be. Their hack-implementations pushed the pedals and turned the steering with pulleys and belts.

      In a modern car with electronic stability control, antilock brakes, and drive-by-wire throttle cable it's silly to make something that pushes the pedals. It's even sillier to have a pulley and a belt turn the steering wheel when many new cars have park-assist, where the steering can be controlled by the vehicle.

      With many modern cars such a system could be implemented without making it obvious
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        In defense of the Mythbuster's they often remote control the cars in the first place because they plan to destroy them or at least to put them at serious risk of destruction. That is not something for economic reasons you generally want to do with new cars. So they tend to be using cars that are around 10 years old which do not have these electronic systems, to utilize.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          The Mythbusters shouldn't be embarrassed, their hacks are just what they need for both a practical, quick-and-dirty approach to a car that won't ever be driven again, and the hack-n-whack approach is good for their ratings.

          The people behind this new implementation should be embarrassed.
    • Grant is going to be pissed when the Russian one works better. His setup was a mess to operate and not particularly stable. Frankly, a lot of the robotics on Mythbusters are overblown for show and function poorly as a result.
      • Right, but they're doing it for a show; a show that, at least at one time, was doing very well. They'd have never tried to sell their work, as these guys are trying to do. That's what they'd be laughing at.
  • Big R/C car (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:14PM (#45837557) Homepage

    They've built a big R/C car. All they did was put R/C servos on steering and throttle. (They don't show how they actuated the brakes.) Running this through WiFi and an iPad instead of just using a regular R/C transmitter adds lag.

    Their setup looks dangerously flaky. They have an R/C servo on the throttle, with nothing to force a closed throttle on failure.

    • wifi let's them have nice video but not much range.

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        wifi let's them have nice video but not much range.

        And that's a good thing.

        You want computer driven cars, fine, but make sure your ass is in them taking the risk. At least that way half baked lashups like this won't be running around the street. Given enough bandwidth, and range this thing could be dangerous. Put a LTE cell phone in there and turn on wifi tethering, and you have a cheap bomb delivery platform, big enough to carry enough for major damage.

        There simply isn't enough processing power in an Ipad to adequately control this thing.

        Maybe DROPOUTJEEP []

    • by satuon ( 1822492 )

      It's a proof-of-concept. It doesn't matter what they use for transmission really, and they could change it in the future if it's a real problem. They could also go the other direction - with 3G, this could have a very big range indeed, albeit not a very good bandwidth and latency.

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )
        Eh, what concept exactly needed proving here?
        • by satuon ( 1822492 )

          That someone can do this. Not theoretically I mean, it's obvious you can, but nobody actually went and did this until now (or they did but I haven't heard about it).

          • That someone can do this.

            Remote control vehicles are not a new concept.

            Not theoretically I mean, it's obvious you can, but nobody actually went and did this until now (or they did but I haven't heard about it).

            Using WiFi is hardly "earthshaking". Indeed, I see remote control via WiFi toys at the mall all the time.

          • I can think of several myth buster episodes in which they build a remote controlled car.

            This is REALLY nothing new.

            As for using a tablet, you can buy toy helicopters to control from your iphone at any toystore.

            Nothing about this is new or exciting. It is a slashvertisement and not a very good one.

        • That with enough Vodka you won't mind the snow?

      • Yes, we did right this - it was a proof of concept. And, you see, we expected to hear from other geeks and enthusiast "hey guys, but we did it another way - let's compare our solutions". But instead we received comparison with commercial cars, Google Car and so on. We will be glad to talk with a people who have a real results. :-)
        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Yes, it's kind of neat to implement remote control with consumer grade stuff, cheaply.

          We're lampooning it, in part, because it's so Mythbusters to control the car with belts and pulleys and by pushing the pedals when many modern cars could be electronically told to do that.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            We're lampooning it, in part, because it's so Mythbusters to control the car with belts and pulleys and by pushing the pedals when many modern cars could be electronically told to do that.

            No, most cars cannot do it electronically.

            The only things you can do electronically in a car is accellerate and change gears (in a auto or autostick). You can even "suggest" the windows and doors lock and unlock. But you have no control over brakes and steering, for obvious reasons. Sure you have ABS and traction control,

    • by jovius ( 974690 )

      Aren't all remotely driven cars basically big R/C cars? Besides I think correct translation for flaky would be Russian.

    • What they've done is nothing new. []
      In the immortal words of Sheldon Cooper "If anything, it's a modest leap forward from the technology that gave us Country Bear Jamboree."

    • Also, touch screens *eat* as remote controls. I have problems controlling R/C vehicles from my iPhone (cars, helis); I wouldn't want to control a full size car in the same manner.
  • In Soviet Russia Car controls YOU.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )
      That really doesn't apply here, and furhermore you're doing it wrong ("control", not "controls").
  • Web app or hacked Ipad? liability issues and more like the video surveillance applications that are not on kickstarter may lead to an app store ban.'

    apple may not want to be part of this as they likely will get sued if some bad happens.

    • anyone that can afford a legal team to combat apple's likely can also afford not to drive a car

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:52PM (#45837881)

    At least one chinese automaker is already shipping cars with remote control driving as an option. []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, these guys haven't done anything that you couldn't do with a Raspberry Pi or even an Arduino, with radio controlled model servos.It's a deathtrap/murder machine, of course. But, you could even easily do it with an Ardurover [].

    This will kill somebody. No doubt about it.

  • they're using a small underpowered RC servo with plastic shaft to pull the mechanical throttle on the carburetor (forget doing this on a modern car too), the motor on the steering wheel sounds very underpowered, not to mention the twisting of the mechanical mounting from the torque. They didn't show how they actuate the breaks. This has been done many times before by hobbyists and engineering students. But in this state it's at best a joke, certainly not viable as a commercial product. All there is to see h
    • not to mention it's a freaking Opel Vectra .. the least sexy car ever built .. If they want to build "bond car" accessories, why don't they build a kit that spits out an oil spill or nails to flatten pursuers' tires. The liability will probably be the same as for this joke.
    • Wow, looks like it's a hollywar! You see this project was just a fun for us. Usually we control some smaller things like RC cars, compters and boats. When we did a Bond Car it was just a fun at first, and the second it was a test for our platform. But most of readers says "Hey!!! It's extremely dangerous!!! It needs a lots of tests!!! How we can allow such a cars appear on our highways!!!" etc. Are you serious?
      • Yes. Very. Especially since you didn't even try to refute the technical blunders mentioned above. This would of been a nice article on hackaday, but not on slashdot where most engineers are themselves capable of doing a better job. No offense, it's a nice hobby project, but making this commercial is simply a bad joke.
        • Are you talking about a car driving or about virt2real board? We did not plan to make this car commercial. We are hardware developers and make a lot of funny and a serious projects (last one weights about 4 tons). But this car, unfortunately for us (yep, it's true), the only project highlighted outside Russia in English.
          • well the car, since there is no information on the "virt2real" board itself. And a SoC running linux with some real time components is hardly new. Nothing here that couldn't of been done with a Raspberry Pi, old android phone, or old router and the likes. If you didn't post this as a commercial product, but rather as a community project with docs and source code, the reactions here would of been very different.
            • thygate, we are a team of 3 developers, who converts a draft idea to first batch in about 1,5 years. Reason of developing was easy - we did not find appropriate solution. Here's short video [], where I'm explain main idea. Please mention it is OLD video (Jan 2013), but main idea of a project still the same. Here we are at github: [] In Russia we try to make crowdfund and obtained about 50% of needed sum. We add our own money to make first bat

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