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

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The present world pace document for using a motorbike down a straight, flat highway was set in 2012 by a Dutch workforce, however the Swiss have a plan to topple their rivals — with a little bit assist from machine studying. An algorithm skilled on aerodynamics may streamline their bike, maybe reducing air resistance by sufficient to set a brand new document.

Presently the document is held by Sebastiaan Bowier, who in 2012 set a document of 133.78 km/h, or simply over 83 mph. It’s onerous to think about how his bike, which appeared extra like a tiny landbound rocket than any form of bicycle, might be considerably improved on.

However each little bit counts when information 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 on the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne’s Laptop Imaginative and prescient Laboratory developed a machine studying algorithm that, skilled on 3D shapes and their aerodynamic qualities, “learns to develop an instinct concerning the legal guidelines of physics,” because the college’s Pierre Baqué.

“The usual machine studying algorithms we use to work with in our lab take photos as enter,” he defined in an EPFL video. “A picture is a really well-structured sign that may be very straightforward to deal with by a machine-learning algorithm. Nonetheless, for engineers working on this area, they use what we name a mesh. A mesh is a really massive graph with quite a lot of nodes that’s not very handy to deal with.”

Nonetheless, the workforce managed to design a convolutional neural community that may kind by means of numerous shapes and mechanically decide which ought to (in principle) present the perfect aerodynamic profile.

“Our program leads to designs which might be generally 5–20% extra aerodynamic than standard strategies,” Pierre Baqué mentioned. “However much more importantly, it may be utilized in sure conditions that standard strategies can’t. The shapes utilized in coaching this system could be very totally different from the usual shapes for a given object. That provides it an excessive amount of flexibility.”

That implies that the algorithm isn’t simply restricted to slight variations on established designs, nevertheless it additionally 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 Idea, of which Baqué is the CEO. It was offered right now on the Worldwide Convention on Machine Studying in Stockholm.

A workforce from the Annecy College Institute of Know-how will try to use the computer-honed mannequin in individual on the World Human Powered Velocity Problem in Nevada this September — in spite of everything, irrespective of how a lot pc help there’s, because the identify says, it’s nonetheless powered by a human.

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