Seven robots start DARPA’s Urban challenge

Eleven teams qualified for the final day of the urban challenge. Watch as the first seven teams take off out of the starting block.

The information was supplied from each team, via Darpas website.

Odin #32

Blacksburg, VA

VictorTango

Team VictorTango is the outgrowth of a longstanding research and educational program in autonomous vehicle systems at Virginia Tech.  The team has been catalyzed by three previous successful Grand Challenge entries (Cliff in 2004, Cliff and Rocky in 2005).  To provide the experience and continuity necessary to field a successful Urban Challenge entry, Virginia Tech has partnered with TORC Technologies as a major subcontractor.  TORC is a university spin-off company whose founders and partners were participants in the previous DARPA Challenges.  Team VictorTango brings together a group of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and practicing engineers under the guidance of a distinguished advisory board.  Our team shares DARPAs vision of an autonomous urban vehicle; we are committed to making this vision a reality.

 

Junior #19

Stanford, CA

Stanford Racing

The Stanford Racing Team won the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005, with it’s robotic VW Touareg “Stanley.”  We are pleased to announce that the Stanford Racing Team has been selected by DARPA as a track A Participant in the 2007 Urban Challenge.  Junior runs on sunfuel; biodiesel.

 

Ben #74

Philadelphia, PA

The Ben Franklin Racing Team

The Ben Franklin Racing Team consists of students and faculty at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and Lehigh University, along with engineers at Lockheed Martin. We plan to race “Ben,” a modified Toyota Prius hybrid car equipped with LADAR, stereo cameras, and radar sensors in the 2007 Urban Grand Challenge.

Talos – #79

Cambridge, MA

MIT

MIT’s Grand Challenge team is led by four co-principal investigators: John Leonard from the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Jonathan How from the Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Seth Teller from the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and David Barrett of Olin College.  The team also includes a number of other faculty and students from MIT, a group of engineers from the C.S. Draper Laboratory, and a team of undergraduates from Olin College.  The MIT team believes that the difficulty of the DARPA Grand Challenge arises principally from three types of uncertainty inherent in the autonomous urban driving task: in the input, i.e., the relationship of the provided environment and mission descriptions to the actual driving environment; in sensing, i.e., the relationship of available sensor data to the actual static and dynamic surroundings of the vehicle; and in actuation, i.e., the relationship between commanded vehicle motions and the vehicle’s actual physical progress. In the absence of any uncertainty, meeting the challenge would be a straightforward engineering exercise, albeit a very complex one. Yet such uncertainty is unavoidable in reality; recognizing this fact, and developing strategies to account for uncertainty, are the keys to a successful DGC effort.  Our team’s central, and distinctive, focus is addressing the above sources of uncertainty in a way that is both scalable to spatially extended environments, and efficient enough for real-time on-board operation in a dynamic world.

 

Knight Rider #13

Orlando, FL

Team UCF

With the inception of the DARPA Urban Challenge, TeamUCF is looking forward to building on the existing capabilities of the Knight Rider vehicle and creating a competition vehicle with the goal of meeting all the mission objectives of DARPA and performing at a level that challenges all other entries. This year TeamUCFs management and technical approach enhances the core of last years team, adding both experienced project management and the key technical expertise to meet the new Challenge. TeamUCFs core university personnel are augmented by several industry partners such as Coleman Technologies, Inc., a system engineering firm specializing in real-time guidance, navigation, and control as well as products associated with GPS measurements in urban environments. This and other industrial partnerships bring experienced project execution methodology and a commercial perspective to the TeamUCF design. Our Urban Challenge vehicle is known as Knight Rider V.I.P. and is based upon a technical approach that focuses on the implementation of higher-level capabilities through the use of Vision, Intelligence, and Planning.

Skynet #26

Ithaca, NY

Team Cornell

Team Cornell’s 2007 Urban Challenge entry will develop and utilize novel, state of the art probabilistic inference algorithms, GPS work, and intelligent planning for the vehicle. These technologies will be integrated into a modified stock SUV chassis for the Urban Challenge. Final validation testing against human drivers will occur in a controlled city environment at Cornells test facilities.

TerraMax ##21

Oshkosh, WI

Team Oshkosh Truck

Team Oshkosh (formerly Team TerraMax) will once again field a DARPA Challenge team with the dedication and expertise to take TerraMax to the performance level needed for the DARPA Urban Challenge.

Team Oshkosh understands the additional hurdles we must overcome by working with vehicles the size of TerraMax, but feel it is the most relevant platform for development of autonomous systems which focus on providing logistics support. Team Oshkosh will again utilize a vehicle based on the U.S. Marine Corps MTVR that provides a majority of the logistics support for the Marine Corps. The intention is to optimize the autonomous system design such that it can be supplied in kit form. With Team Oshkosh, all design and program decisions are made with not only the Urban Challenge goal in mind, but eventual fielding objectives as well.

Oshkosh Truck will modify the vehicle to optimize the control-by-wire systems and upgrade to a superior low-level control strategy. Improvements since the last Grand Challenge have been identified and will be implemented. Modifications to the vehicle chassis will provide a better dynamic capability in the urban environment.


Teledyne Scientific Company (formerly Rockwell Scientific Company) was a major contributor to Team TerraMaxs success in the last Grand Challenge with much of the software generated around their unique and high performance algorithms. The team will again rely on them to support mission and path planning, and much of the vehicles high level control and programming. Auburn University also returns to provide some of the same support from last year in working to provide a well thought out and robust GPS/IMU package capable for the task of urban operations.


We are excited to bring to the urban environment our sensor capabilities stemming from our long relationships with the University of Parma and IBEO. They will be providing exclusive vision system and LIDAR solutions that they have been developing in Europe for many years with focus on the challenges the DARPA Urban Challenge presents.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.

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