April Fool's Joke

Since 2002, every year AutoZine posts a joke on the 1st of April. Here is a collection of the past jokes. Enjoy !

Google AlphaRun to challenge Hamilton

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is secretly entering F1 racing. According to an insider familiar with F1 organizer Bernie Ecclestone, Google has agreed to purchase CVC, which owns a controlling stake in Formula One racing. By doing so, Google will be able to rewrite the rules of F1, allowing autopilot machines to compete with the world’s best racing drivers on a variety of race tracks. It is expected to inject a new lease of life into F1 racing, attracting IT-addicted young people back to the sport.

According to the insider, a key element of the grand plan is to upgrade Google’s artificial intelligence, AlphaGo, which famously won board game Go against professional player Lee Se-Dol last month, into AlphaRun, a version specialized in driving. Like the chess-playing version, its “Deep Learning” technology is able to learn how to drive a race car by surfing the internet, watching the video clips of legendary racing drivers like Sterling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Giles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, especially those featuring how Senna and Schumacher bumped their rivals off track. Deep Learning will also consult the creative driving techniques of Speed Racer and Mr. Bean to make sure it is able to think out of the box and beat professional racing drivers.

To demonstrate its superiority, Google will organize 5 races against world champion Lewis Hamilton using identical cars. They will take place at the most difficult tracks around the world, namely Monte Carlo, Macau, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Pikes Peak and Beijing (if Hamilton could survive its air). The overall winner will take big prizes including free Android Play downloads and unlimited usage of Google Drive, which will be extremely attractive to AlphaRun if not Hamilton.

While the autopilot system is developed by Google DeepMind, the race car chassis is to be supplied by Ferrari. It will feature an elegant “Birdcage” halo protection system patented by Maserati, and hopefully this will replace the ungainly alternatives that Ferrari and Red Bull are developing. It should satisfy FIA’s requirement for all-round protection to the driver while providing additional sense of security, not to mention the unrivalled aesthetic which has been lost in Formula 1 for so long.

In order to slash costs and save smaller teams, Google wants to revise the rules of power unit to accept off-the-shelf production engines. The hottest candidate is tipped to be Viper’s 8.4-liter V10, as there are lots of stocks unsold, enough for McLaren drivers to blow up several every race. Another likely choice is Volkswagen EA189 2.0-liter turbo diesel, whose cheat software should be a perfect mate with AlphaRun. The poorest teams may opt for the very cost-effective Fiat 0.9-liter TwinAir, which may be a little bit down on power, but its characterful noise could easily overwhelm the current F1 engines. Power output of different engines could be levelled out by over- or underclocking their CPUs.

To be fair to its human rivals, the Google race car will not link the AlphaRun central brain directly to its drive-by-wire controls, which could have eliminated reaction lags and presented an unfair advantage. Instead, it will be driven by a monkey through conventional steering wheel, pedals and shift paddles on which signal lamps with banana symbol are attached. AlphaRun will use these signals to guide the specially trained monkey to manipulate the controls in a skillful manner, including heel-and-toe actions of which monkey feet are extremely capable of. Hopefully this will realize the vaticination of Nigel Mansell made in 2002, who famously claimed that F1 cars had become so easy to drive that even monkeys could manage the job. How visionary Mansell was!

Copyright© 1997-2016 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine