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Champion robot car

Published by under News,Transportation categories on December 16, 2007

Boss robot car from C.Mellon UniversityBoss, a car with sensors and computers by a team of engineers from Carnegie Mellon University, won the most famous of robotic races: the Urban Challenge. With no human assistance, the vehicles competing in the race had to safely and quickly navigate city streets while staying in their lanes and avoiding other moving and parked cars.

The Urban Challenge is the third in a series of autonomous-vehicle competitions, designed to spur robotics innovation and inspire the next generation of engineers. In 2004, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) held the first race, the Grand Challenge, in the Mojave Desert. The race course was a 150-mile stretch of desert road, but the farthest any of the driverless cars got was about seven miles. In 2005, the second Grand Challenge was far more successful: five cars finished, and the prize went to Stanford’s car. Carnegie Mellon came in a close second.

Robot car front detailThis year’s race was far more complex than the previous two. The grounds of the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, CA, served as a mock city that the robots had to navigate. The course consisted of 60 miles of roads and parking lots and took about six hours to complete. The whole time, the robotic cars needed to obey traffic laws and avoid both cars driven by professional stunt drivers and the other robots on the course.

To the casual observer, the cars weren’t doing anything special, and over time, it was easy to forget that they had no drivers. Boss, for instance, came to a stop at an intersection and started to move forward, only to spot a car coming and back up to let it pass.

This kind of event marks a signal on the way heading to the Automatic Navigation Vehicle (ANV described within our article “Transport long term evolution“)


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