MIT Media Lab City Science Group

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Open-Source Autonomous Platform for Educational and Service Design Applications

How can new technologies respond to society’s diverse industrial, socio-economic, and educational needs?

Despite AI and robotics being widely trumpeted as keys to the new Industrial Revolution, access to their development remains largely restricted to companies and institutions that are rich in capital and/or data, potentially further deepening the socio-economic disparity observed across continents. As a likely result, these new technologies generate limited positive externalities. For instance, are automobiles really the most critical area in need of self-driving technology? Where else might AI and robotics be applied to lead to increased urban livability, socioeconomic equity, and the vibrancy of local businesses?

Building upon the architecture of MIT’s open-source race car platform, the City Science group introduces a new open-ended and heavy-duty self-driving platform.  Torque is intended to be used by educators and makers and is ideal for hackathons and classroom instruction. Torque will soon allow rapid prototyping of usage scenarios and services for various contexts and needs.