Home / Tech News / Machine learning boosts Swiss startup’s shot at human-powered land speed record

Machine learning boosts Swiss startup’s shot at human-powered land speed record

The present world velocity file for using a motorcycle down a straight, flat street was set in 2012 by a Dutch crew, however the Swiss have a plan to topple their rivals — with somewhat assist from machine studying. An algorithm educated on aerodynamics may streamline their bike, maybe reducing air resistance by sufficient to set a brand new file.

Currently the file is held by Sebastiaan Bowier, who in 2012 set a file of 133.78 km/h, or simply over 83 mph. It’s laborious to think about how his bike, which seemed extra like a tiny landbound rocket than any sort of bicycle, may very well be considerably improved on.

But each little bit counts when data are measured down a hundredth of a unit, and anyway, who is aware of however that some unusual new form would possibly completely change the sport?

To pursue this, researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Computer Vision Laboratory developed a machine studying algorithm that, educated on 3D shapes and their aerodynamic qualities, “learns to develop an intuition about the laws of physics,” because the college’s Pierre Baqué stated.

“The standard machine learning algorithms we use to work with in our lab take images as input,” he defined in an EPFL video. “An image is a very well-structured signal that is very easy to handle by a machine-learning algorithm. However, for engineers working in this domain, they use what we call a mesh. A mesh is a very large graph with a lot of nodes that is not very convenient to handle.”

Nevertheless, the crew managed to design a convolutional neural community that may type by way of numerous shapes and robotically decide which ought to (in concept) present the perfect aerodynamic profile.

“Our program results in designs that are sometimes 5-20 percent more aerodynamic than conventional methods,” Baqué stated. “But even more importantly, it can be used in certain situations that conventional methods can’t. The shapes used in training the program can be very different from the standard shapes for a given object. That gives it a great deal of flexibility.”

That implies that the algorithm isn’t simply restricted to slight variations on established designs, nevertheless it is also versatile sufficient to tackle different fluid dynamics issues like wing shapes, windmill blades or vehicles.

The tech has been spun out right into a separate firm, Neural Concept, of which Baqué is the CEO. It was offered as we speak on the International Conference on Machine Learning in Stockholm.

A crew from the Annecy University Institute of Technology will try to use the computer-honed mannequin in particular person on the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Nevada this September — in spite of everything, irrespective of how a lot pc help there’s, because the title says, it’s nonetheless powered by a human.

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