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The future of the Selfless car

28 Oct 2019

The future of the Selfless car

Michael Candy is an emerging kinetic and new media artist who has exhibited and been awarded internationally. His project Selfless Driving Car, the development and testing of software for a driverless car installation (to be directed by live public online voting), is one of the 12 projects that are receiving funding and support from our Creative Development Program.

Michael told us a bit more about the project:

‘Simply put, Selfless Driving Car (SDC) is a conceptual project in which I outsource the steering of a moving vehicle to a live online vote.

‘The project addresses many implications to do with our agency online and the physical implications of our virtual actions. The Creative Development Program has launched the first phase of the project, in which a scale platform and web interfaces have been prototyped for live testing.’

The project was inspired by Loren Carpenter’s 1991 Graphical Interface Experiment in which users were able to quantitatively vote on the ‘racket’ placement in a game of Pong.

‘The experiment gave rise to notions that human society could act as a self-governing organism through the new medium of the internet. Similarly, in 2014 Twitch, an online game streaming service, hosted an experiment crowdsourcing the gameplay of the Gameboy classic “Pokemon Red” attracting over 1.1 million participants over 16 continuous days of play. Exploring these utopian ideas of a digital symbiotic system in a time when the virtual realm continues to penetrate our physical existence SDC intends to create a platform for a similar experiment with very real world consequences,’ said Michael.

‘The SDC project has encountered many technical difficulties to do with latency, user capacity and quantitative voting. It’s very difficult to have a system that works for multiple users and maintain a live stream of adequate speed to operate the vehicle.

‘In December we will run a final test of the prototype unit, which will provide informative data and reference material to take the project further. One considerable concern with this prototyping phase is the lack of responsibility in the participants. by this I mean it’s not going to be a car with me in it (this time) and so I fear this may influence how people interface the work. only time will tell!’

The Creative Development Program has kickstarted SDC by funding a scale test as a proof of concept, providing integral infrastructure and data towards developing the full-scale event.

‘This funding has helped me afford the time and resources to dive headfirst into this project and discover the complexity of these ideas and what it takes to resolve them. The content and documentation of this development will be a powerful resource in taking the project further when seeking sponsorship and partners for the full-scale event. The concepts of SDC have far reaching implications and raise poignant questions, evoking a metaphor for our present state with the ethereal realm of digital technologies.’

This project has been supported by HOTA Home of Arts and City of Gold Coast through HOTA’s Creative Development Program.


Image shows the prototype remote controlled car that will be used for the test event.