Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Robot car completed a 200-mile test run

The Carnegie Mellon Red Team's Sandstorm robotic HMMWV ("HUMMVEE") completed a 200-mile test run last week, a small step on the way to claiming the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The Grand Challenge is a 175-mile race in the Mojave Desert that tests robotic vehicles' ability to endure the harsh conditions while navigating a course littered with natural and man-made obstacles. Sandstorm completed 7.3 miles of last year's 142-mile course, but that was still more than any other vehicle.

The recent endurance test was performed on a racetrack in Pennsylvania. Sandstorm completed the 200-mile trek in 7 hours and 12 minutes, averaging 28 miles per hour, faster than the vehicle will run during the DARPA event. The test did show that Sandstorm's hardware and software can withstand the long-term use.

The Red Team's other race vehicle, a newer HUMMER with more recent technology called "H1ghlander," did not fare so well; but with multiple pieces of hardware not functioning at the beginning, H1ghlander's chances started out low. The vehicle slowed down to a crawl, and the test had to be stopped due to time constraints.

The 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge will occur on October 8. 20 semifinalists (from a September 26 competition) will compete for the grand prize of US$2 million.
from here


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