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Five robots complete DARPA desert race

Stanford University Wins Defense Department Robot Challenge

Five autonomous ground vehicles completed rugged desert course

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced October 9 that five autonomous ground vehicles completed the DARPA Grand Challenge, a tough, 212-kilometer course in the Mojave Desert in the western United States.

The results prove that autonomous ground vehicles – that is, vehicles with no drivers -- can travel long distances over difficult terrain at a relatively high speed.

The vehicle that completed the course in the shortest amount of time was “Stanley,” entered by Stanford University in California.

The Stanford team won the $2 million prize because its vehicle finished the entire course in the shortest elapsed time – six hours, 53 minutes and 58 seconds.

Two vehicles entered by Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania -- Red Team’s “Sandstorm” and Red Team Too’s “H1ghlander” -- finished close behind. The Gray Team’s “KAT-5,” from Louisiana, finished at seven hours, 30 minutes and 16 seconds.

“These vehicles haven’t just achieved world records, they’ve made history,” said DARPA Director Tony Tether. DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Twenty-three teams participated in the competition, which began in early morning October 8 and ended October 9.

The 23 finalists were among 195 teams from 36 states and four foreign countries that filed applications to compete in DARPA’s Grand Challenge.

Over the past several months, the teams advanced to the final event by completing a series of rigorous tests on the desert course.

The first four finishers entered the history books as being the first ground vehicle robots to travel a great distance at relatively high speed in a specified time.

Stanley’s average speed over the 212-kilometer desert course was 31 kilometers per hour. Sandstorm averaged 30 kilometers per hour, H1ghlander 29.2 kilometers per hour and KAT-5, 28.1 kilometers per hour.

DARPA’s mission is to accelerate the development of promising technologies and then turn those technologies over to others to develop viable applications.

“We have completed our mission here,” Tether said, “and look forward to watching these exciting technologies take off.”

Additional information about the DARPA Grand Challengeis available on the organization’s Web site.

Text of the DARPA press release follows:

(begin text)

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2005

A HUGE LEAP FORWARD FOR ROBOTICS R&D

$2 Million Cash Prize Awarded to Stanford’s “Stanley” as Five Autonomous Ground Vehicles Complete DARPA Grand Challenge Course

Primm, Nevada -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) today announced that five autonomous ground vehicles successfully completed the DARPA Grand Challenge, a tough, 131.6-mile course in the Mojave Desert. The results prove conclusively that autonomous ground vehicles can travel long distances over difficult terrain at militarily relevant rates of speed.

The vehicle that completed the course in the shortest amount of time was “Stanley,” entered by Stanford University. The team wins the $2 million prize because it finished the entire course in the shortest elapsed time under 10 hours – six hours, 53 minutes and 58 seconds (6:53:58).

Two vehicles entered by Carnegie-Mellon University, Red Team’s “Sandstorm” (7:04:50) and Red Team Too’s “H1ghlander” (7:14:00) finished close behind. The Gray Team’s “KAT-5” finished at 7:30:16. Oshkosh Truck’s 16-ton robot, TerraMax, also finished the course, on Sunday. Its official elapsed time was not available at press time, but the vehicle will not be eligible for the cash prize because the time will exceed the 10-hour limit.

The first four finishers entered the history books as being the first ground vehicle robots to travel a great distance at relatively high speed within a specified time frame. Stanley’s average speed over the 131.6- mile desert course was 19.1 mph. Sandstorm averaged 18.6 mph, H1ghlander 18.2 mph, and KAT-5 17.5 mph.

Twenty-three teams participated in the competition, which began at 6:40 a.m. Saturday morning, October 8, and ended the next day. “These vehicles haven’t just achieved world records, they’ve made history,” said DARPA Director Dr. Tony Tether. Pointing out that DARPA’s mission is to accelerate the development of promising technologies, and then turn them over to others for the development of viable applications, Tether continued, “We have completed our mission here, and look forward to watching these exciting technologies take off.”

DARPA Grand Challenge Program Manager Ron Kurjanowicz added, “The Grand Challenge stimulated the creation of a new community of innovators – inventors, mechanics, computer scientists, engineers, and students – who typically have not been involved in Defense-related activities. The camaraderie and competitiveness that have been the hallmark of the Grand Challenge since its inception demonstrates that America’s heritage of ingenuity and resourcefulness is strong.”

The 23 finalists were among 195 teams from 36 states and four foreign countries that filed applications to compete in DARPA’s Grand Challenge. Over the past several months, these teams advanced to the final event by completing a series of rigorous tests designed to assess their capability of completing the desert course.

More information about the DARPA Grand Challenge is available at the event website, www.grandchallenge.org

 

   
   
   

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