View Full Version : Autonomous robotic vehicles set for 150 mile DARPA Grand Challenge

2005-Sep-28, 09:24 PM
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored Grand Challenge 2005 (http://www.grandchallenge.org/) trials is set to begin on October 8. The challenge is to complete a 150 mile mixed-terrain desert course complete with obstacles, elevation and switchbacks in ten hours. Each vehicle must complete the course autonomously - without any human intervention including remote control. The prize - a cool $2 million.

43 teams are set to compete in this race designed as a technology seed for autonomous land vehicles to be developed into a next generation fighting force. Vehicles include a Nissan XTerra 4x4 from Colorado (Mojavation), a golf cart from Virginia Tech (VT Grand Challenge), a six wheeled home brew from San Fransisco (Terra) and (my favorite) a gyroscopic balanced motorcycle from UC Berkley and Texas A&M (Blue Team).

Individual team profiles are also available at the DARPA site.

Charlie in Dayton
2005-Sep-29, 02:44 AM
Isn't this the same race that no one even got five miles into last year?

2005-Sep-29, 11:09 AM
Isn't this the same race that no one even got five miles into last year?

To be accurate, the Carnegie Mellon team logged 7.25 miles before breaking down. This year promises to be more competitive though (fingers crossed), since some of the teams practicing for this year's challenge have finished last year's course.

2005-Sep-29, 11:12 AM
From the Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002520800_robotrace26.html):

Among the newcomers: the Stanford Racing Team, whose modified Volkswagen Touareg, Stanley, recently drove 200 miles in the Arizona desert without interruption or human help.

Team leader Sebastian Thrun, a computer-science professor at Stanford University, declined to reveal how long the journey took. "That's our best-kept secret," he said.

2005-Sep-29, 05:19 PM
Yeah--they had a dwarf in a silver box with wires coming out of it... :)

2005-Oct-06, 04:23 PM
Robots Race for $2 Million Prize Saturday (http://www.livescience.com/technology/ap_051006_darpa_update.html)

A driverless red Hummer snagged the pole position Wednesday in a government-sponsored sequel race across the Mojave Desert that will pit 23 robots against one another.

The finalists were chosen after an intense, weeklong qualifying run at the California Speedway, where the self-navigating vehicles had to drive on a bumpy road, zip through a tunnel and avoid obstacles. No human drivers or remote controls were allowed.

The Hummer named H1ghlander, built by Carnegie Mellon University, flipped during practice a few weeks ago when it struck a rock. But it still managed to complete all four required semifinal runs.

Last year, only half of the 15 autonomous robotic vehicles that ran in the so-called Grand Challenge passed the semifinals. No team claimed the $1 million inaugural prize because all the contestants broke down within a few miles of the starting gate.

So this year, the sponsor, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, doubled the purse with the hope that a vehicle would finish Saturday's $2 million race.

2005-Oct-08, 08:19 PM
With over 90% of the race complete, it's still a race. Maybe next year we get a PPV.

Stanford:-----------6:46-------123 miles

Red Team Too:------6:51-------118 miles

Red Team:----------6:44-------116 miles

Stanford has a fair lead, but Red Team is set to challenge. Because of staggered start times, the first over the finish line is not necessarily the winner. Stanford has been on the track longer than Red Team, but has finished more of the course. You can track current progress here (http://www.grandchallenge.org/) - click Status Board on the left-hand navigation panel.

Of the 23 finalists, 16 have been eliminated (DNFs). Of the teams left operating on the first half of the course (who drew late starts) none seen in position to challenge the top three listed above.

2005-Oct-08, 08:34 PM
Red Team is now 5 miles and 2 minutes behind Stanford with 7 miles to go (for Stanford) on the 132 mile course.

2005-Oct-08, 08:35 PM
Red Team is now only 4 miles behing Team Stanford with 2 minutes difference in time. This will be very close.

2005-Oct-08, 08:47 PM
Stanford Racing Team has made it past Beer Bottle Pass - a dangerous cliffside road - and is now racing toward the finish line over level terrain. Only one mile to go!

2005-Oct-08, 08:57 PM
Stanford Racing Team is first across the finish with an unofficial time of 7:32.

Red Team Too has completed Beer Bottle Pass and is on level terrain but has an elapsed time of 7:33.

Red Team has probably just completed Beer Bottle Pass and has a time of 7:30 with 7 miles to go.

2005-Oct-08, 09:09 PM
Red Team Too finished with an unofficial time of 7:47.

Stanford Racing Team's time has just been changed to 7:42.

I'm not certain the nature of these changes.

2005-Oct-08, 09:13 PM
It looks like the web applet is still adding time to those teams who have already completed the course, so I suspect that the initial times posted are more accurate.

2005-Oct-08, 09:19 PM
Red Team has just crossed the finish with an unofficial time of 7:50.

2005-Oct-08, 09:24 PM
Since the 5-minute interval between Stanford Racing and Red Too has not changed, I'm assuming that the web applet is still adding time and in fact Stanford Racing Team is the actual winner with a time of 7:30.

2005-Oct-08, 09:28 PM
Teams still racing are:

Gray Team-----5:53------59 miles completed
TerraMax------5:27------46 miles completed
InSight--------5:16------16 miles completed

None of these teams are on pace to challenge those which have already finished.

2005-Oct-09, 12:13 AM
Insight Racing has DNFed - having completed only 25 miles of the 132 mile course. Gray Team has reached the 100 mile mark. Team TerraMax has just emerged from the 150' northern tunnel. Only 5 other vehicles have made it as far as TerraMax. Team ENSCO broke down 97 miles into the race, three completed the course and Gray Team is still making progress.

2005-Oct-09, 01:40 AM
Gray Team finished with a time of 10:06. Team TerraMax has completed 83 miles in 9:40.

2005-Oct-09, 05:07 AM
From the TerraMax blog (http://www.terramax.com/media/race_log.cfm):

It's hard to describe the emotions that Team TerraMax experienced today because the range was so great.

We experienced the disappointment of being relegated to the 19th position on the race grid over concerns over our size even though we performed spectacularly at the NQE [ed: National Qaulifying Event].

We experienced the excitement over seeing TerraMax leave the starting gate after a year of hard work.

We experienced frustration as our vehicle was enveloped by high winds and debilitating dust - wind and dust that didn't exist during the early runs from the top of the field.

We experienced elation as TerraMax recovered and started eating up the course often reaching top speed of 45mph and, through sections, averaging over 30mph.

Elation turned to more frustration as our vehicle was paused for over an hour while our broken chase vehicle was replaced. With no information except the DARPA provided position map, we began to believe TerraMax had broken down on the course.

Elation again, as we were told of the problem and TerraMax resumed its run toward the finish line, once again eating up the course at a monster pace.

Dissapointment began to set in as TerraMax appears to be developing a problem, speed has decreased dramatically and navigation has become tentative. We won't know the problem until we see it at the finish line.

Our day of ups and downs was ended as DARPA was forced to pause our vehicle with 40 miles to go, as the sun went down.

We look forward to tomorrow with pessimistic optimism.

Unlike the finishers who use SUV chassis (2 HUMMVWs, Gray Team's Ford Escape Hybrid and Stanford's VW Touraeg R5 (http://www.drive.com.au/editorial/article.aspx?id=9836&vf=1)), TerraMax is built around the 7-ton MTVR (http://www.terramax.com/) so it is probably a better proof-of-concept than the others. The forced pauses enacted by course judges will be subtracted from the final course time after reviewing the vehicles' computer logs.

2005-Oct-09, 08:09 PM
TerraMax has completed the course and the official times have been announced. Stanford Racing Team's vehicle, Stanley, had been announced as the winner of the $2 million dollar grand prize. In all, four teams completed the course inside the 10-hour time limit. Official times are:

Stanford Racing Team (http://www.stanfordracing.org/) - 6:53
Red Team (http://www.redteamracing.org/) -------------7:04
Red Team Too (http://www.redteamracing.org/) ---------7:14
Gray Team-------------7:40
Team TerraMax (http://www.terramax.com/)--------12:54