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Russian Startup Offers Wireless Remote Controller For Cars

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the thought-it-was-a-video-game-officer dept.

Hardware Hacking 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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Drones, Anyone? (1)

Dialecticus (1433989) | about a year ago | (#45837463)

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...

Re:Drones, Anyone? (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#45837481)

a full-size car...

The Opel fan club would like a word with you.

Re:Drones, Anyone? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45838495)

Yes, it is not a car. It's a driving experience.

Re:Drones, Anyone? (1)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45837851)

Ehhh, what? No way that's going to be used in cars ever, an that's totally not what TFA is talking about, either.

Re:Drones, Anyone? (1)

Realizator (3481711) | about a year ago | (#45839731)

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 for a hard-real-time systems.

package (1)

Prokur (2445102) | about a year ago | (#45837511)

is iPad included?

feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45837525)

Without the vestibular feedback to tell you how fast it is going, expect many accidents.

Re:feedback (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#45872145)

Vestibular feedback will not tell you how fast you are going. It will tell you how fast you're accelerating, but that is a different thing. But you'd know that if you'd paid attention at school in your early teens.

pfffft (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a year ago | (#45837539)

The guys from 'Myth Busters' are laughing.

Re:pfffft (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#45840041)

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 to anyone that it's there. No extra components or modifications within the passenger compartment. And that is the point, automakers are continuing to build systems to alpha-test the systems that would need to be present in a car capable of driving itself. It's not much of a stretch to take one of these modern cars with all of these self-control features and to add the sensors needed to allow it to drive itself. We may even see grey-market retrofit kits fifteen years from now, if original-equipment self-driving cars hit the market in the next decade.

Re:pfffft (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about a year ago | (#45840989)

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.

Re:pfffft (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#45842083)

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.

Re:pfffft (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about a year ago | (#45840179)

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.

Re:pfffft (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a year ago | (#45840987)

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 (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#45837557)

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 (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45837659)

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

Re:wifi let's them have nice video but not much ra (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#45839249)

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 [slashdot.org] is a good thing after all. It can perhaps be used to send this kind of thing into the closest ditch.

Re:Big R/C car (2)

satuon (1822492) | about a year ago | (#45837727)

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.

Re:Big R/C car (1)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45837875)

Eh, what concept exactly needed proving here?

Re:Big R/C car (1)

satuon (1822492) | about a year ago | (#45837955)

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).

Re:Big R/C car (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#45838373)

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.

Eh what? (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#45841011)

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.

Re:Big R/C car (1)

lars_boegild_thomsen (632303) | about a year ago | (#45843843)

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

Re: Big R/C car (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#45838701)

Yea, we'll many of us had more impressive Proof of Concept cars like this 40 years ago.

RCA cars are not new. We even have r/c jetliners.

Not to mention Ardurover, which is about 10,000 times more advanced than this POS which uses a freaking accelerometer for steering, and in use by thousands of people already, and is not only radio controlled using multiple interfaces already (including a phone or tablet if your that stupid).

Nothing about this proof of concept is new. Absolutely nothing. It's not even the first kit for a full sized car to go on sale. Hollywood has been doing this probably longer than these 'developers' have been alive.

Re:Big R/C car (1)

Realizator (3481711) | about a year ago | (#45839639)

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. :-)

Re:Big R/C car (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#45840093)

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.

Re:Big R/C car (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#45841239)

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, but those all failsafe - the computer cannot prevent actuation of brakes or the turning of the wheel no matter what it does.

It's why you need a linear actuator for the brakes, and a servo for the wheel - you cannot control those things at all. Sometimes even the shifter may have an interlock to prevent the car from being commanded into gear while the shifter is in park.

And the door locks and window buttons, even electric, are controlled by the door switch - the computer can tell the locks to lock, but the switch overrides that suggestion. Just like if the computer tells the windows to close, the switch will override that and command them to open.

Car designers aren't stupid, and I'm sure the definition of roadworthiness long includes such requirements learned over the years.

Re:Big R/C car (1)

jovius (974690) | about a year ago | (#45838631)

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

Re:Big R/C car (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year ago | (#45839365)

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

Re:Big R/C car (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#45839487)

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.

Cool (0)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#45837631)

How long until one is filled with fertilizer and fuel oil?

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45837681)

That thought is banned. Shame on you.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45837741)

How long until one is filled with fertilizer and fuel oil?

As soon as they set up the diesel engine model, fill it full of people and while at highway speed hand the controller to (or gets cracked by) a somewhat sadistic 12 year old (not necessarily by chronological age). It will rapidly fill with fertilizer then.

Re:Cool (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45837773)

already here [israelnationalnews.com]

Re:Cool (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#45837853)

redundancy [youtube.com]

Obligatory (1)

kmahan (80459) | about a year ago | (#45837691)

In Soviet Russia Car controls YOU.

Re:Obligatory (1)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45837901)

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 (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45837693)

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.

Re:Web app or hacked Ipad liability issues and mor (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914273)

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

Putin will crush this, just wait and see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45837767)

Stuff like this represents a potential force multiplier that those in power
cannot tolerate.

I expect the people responsible for this will "have an unfortunate
accident" soon.

China Already Building R/C Cars (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45837881)

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkx2ZN4j2vk [youtube.com]

Re:China Already Building R/C Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45839827)

When I saw that video, it suddenly made a ton of sense. Imagine dropping off your car at a garage, and have the garage automatically (via wifi) drive your car and park it inside (instead of say your car having a lot of logic in it, have the centralized garage computer do all the 2mph driving---parking cars to save space (no need to open doors, and can move cars out of the way automatically). And it's something stupidly simple to add to "next year's model" for all manufacturers.

Then on top of that (drive by wire via some standard interfaces [wifi, etc.]), innovation with self driving can actually happen.

Epic Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45837911)

Why would I want a Linux based wireless solution that stores passwords in plain text for anyone to steal? Might as well just print keys and leave them on the hood of the car for thrives!

Re:Epic Fail (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914283)

sudo killall thieves

Chechnya's gonna love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45838033)

I imagine this will be used to drive a weaponized car into government installations and *boom*

LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45838079)

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 [ardupilot.com] .

This will kill somebody. No doubt about it.

and will they have to face the prison time time (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#45838291)

and will they have to face the prison time if some does use this to kill people?

Only 40 or so years behind when hobbies to and Hol (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#45838325)

Seriously ... Putting radio controls in a car and video out is hardly anything new. The movie industry and hobbiests have been doing this with full size cars for my entire life.

Guess what ... We've been doing it with freaking a airplanes since at least the 80s where they used it to fly a jumbo jet into a wall to study the crash, might have even been the 70s. It had many cameras feeding all sorts of view points off the unmanned jet.

Slashdot editors need to literally come out of the closet or box they have been living in and get a clue.

Timothy, your an ignorant douche.

This needs to be moderated to +5 (1)

pigiron (104729) | about a year ago | (#45838995)

How did this spot on comment get moderated down. No wonder Slashdot is dying.

Re:This needs to be moderated to +5 (1)

cboslin (1532787) | about a year ago | (#45839393)

..Guess what ... We've been doing it with freaking a airplanes since at least the 80s where they used it to fly a jumbo jet into a wall to study the crash, might have even been the 70s. It had many cameras feeding all sorts of view points off the unmanned jet...

How did this spot on comment get moderated down. No wonder Slashdot is dying.

Because of the reference to remote controlling airplanes. Yes its been done. Yes it is possible. Yes this reminds people of something that some would prefer not be thought of.

There is a patent on a box that is mounted on the bottom of a jet airliner (airplane, helicopter, etc..) that can 100% control it. I have seen it and if you dig through the conspiracy junk, get the patent number, you can search for it like I did.

Remote controlling airplanes causes anyone with a brain to question the official brain-dead story that was put forth by all American news outlets. Granted there is much better evidence for those willing to keep an open mind and search for themselves.

Any comment that hints at remote controlling airplanes will get modded down so that few if any will read it, heaven help us if people start using their brain to think and see the obvious.

Personally with all the conspiracy facts out there that were once thought to be conspiracy theories, you would think people would be more reasonable, give the benefit of the doubt and research for themselves.

To not use your brain, think, research and reason is insane. The truth always sets one free.

Of course the fearful and haters will continue to mod references like the one you commented on down. Its sad.

Re:This needs to be moderated to +5 (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914305)

have you ever sat in the cockpit of a modern airliner during a flight?

step 1: plot course into navigation computer
step 2: obligatory pushing of the engine levers etc
step 3: engage autopilot

ok its a little more involved, but there is a hell of a lot of automation in modern aviation... and autopilots that control pitch,roll,yaw,trim,power/trhust etc have been around for a long time. new planes like the a380 include much more advanced avionics that i think with the assistance of an ILS can land on its own. the pilots are there for when the power goes out because computers seem to lack motivation without it

Re:Only 40 or so years behind when hobbies to and (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914293)

airliners mostly fly themselves nowadays
the only thing they can't yet do is crash themselves... you need human input for that

no engineering (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#45839499)

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 here is a guy that wrote a nice iOS app, and a guy that interfaced some servo's with a mcu that accepts commands over wifi. Would be a nice read on hackaday, but come on, are they serious about commercializing this high-school project ?

Re:no engineering (2)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#45839547)

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.

Re:no engineering (1)

Realizator (3481711) | about a year ago | (#45839587)

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?

Re:no engineering (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#45839663)

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.

Re:no engineering (1)

Realizator (3481711) | about a year ago | (#45839797)

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.

Re:no engineering (1)

thygate (1590197) | about a year ago | (#45839861)

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.

Re:no engineering (1)

Realizator (3481711) | about a year ago | (#45840005)

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38Uc1ttnmOQ [youtube.com] , 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: https://github.com/virt2real [github.com] In Russia we try to make crowdfund and obtained about 50% of needed sum. We add our own money to make first batch of 1000 pcs. And we are fully broken our heads while trying to port all to modern kernel 3.9 now. We no need advertisement or money. I just contacted Rick Lehrbaum to ask for help - we are just enthusiasts and now we have not enougt power to finalize linux part of a project.

Re:no engineering (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914319)

everyone's an armchair expert on slashdot... you'll get used to it

No comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45839611)

This car was made just for fun! Happy ney year!!! From Russia, with love (author of james bond car)

Russian driving technique (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45841157)

Driving a Remote driven car is the only way to tackle Russian lack of road manners.

Put mildly.

   

Drinking and driving while remotely controlled... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45842901)

Officer: 'sir, you have *some bullshit reason to get pulled over at bar close*. License and registration?
Passenger of remotely controlled vehicle: Here is the registration, I don't have a license, because I don't drive!
Officer: Well WTF!?! How am I supposed to fill my quota now if all the alcoholics are having their cars remotely driven...

Would be funny for a cop to be stalking the bar at bar close and sees someone leave the bar stumbling on their way to their car and then pulls them over after they then are seen to be driving perfectly fine only to see that they are not even driving the vehicle ;)

New service: Remote taxi for the drunk and unable to drive

Drive the kids to school?.. no problem, no need to even get out of bed in the morning, just turn on your tablet

Re:Drinking and driving while remotely controlled. (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#45914321)

Officer: 'sir, you have *some bullshit reason to get pulled over at bar close*. License and registration?
Passenger of remotely controlled vehicle: 'eyeavenada (un+ all day drinkstable'

WnDx (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45844743)

The dumbest product of the year 2014 ;-) ... so far

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