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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well sort of.

The latest issue of "Scientific American" details a 200 mile race by unmanned autonomous vehicles to be guided by GPS waypoints every 150-1000 feet, through the desert, varied conditions and vehicles are started "in a staggered start determined by a qualifying effort". Make the time of 10 hrs and the Winner gets 1 million dollars.

The full article explores vehicle construction, all of which are based on ATV's, Dune Buggies, SUV's and the featured competitor uses a H1.

If the teams don't do it this year the race will be run annually until 2007. Enough time if there is no winner for the rally community to give it a try. :)

(I couldn't get the whole article to link, sorry!)

Bernie

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000942F6-DBA9-101E-990A83414B7F0123&ref=sciam
 

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I saw a program on TLC about Rod Millen's shop building a custom Lexus. And it showed a vehicle he was building for that compitition. It then showed it being taken out before sunrise for testing, one funny thing was that as the trailer was leaving the shop the camera showed a laptop computor open on the top of the trailor!

Brian:+
 

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It's called the DARPA Grand Challenge: $1 million goes to the team who successly (& autonomously) navigates a vehicle from LA to Las Vegas in under 10 hours.

website here: [link:URL|http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/]

Quote: "The purpose of the challenge is to leverage American ingenuity to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies that can be applied to military requirements". I heard about this about a year ago - was pondering the idea of joining one of the SoCal based teams, but I guess I got lazy :+

Looking through some of the teams, it seems like there will be some good competition. But remember, "autonomous" means you can't drive your rally car!!! :'( you need a team of engineers who know vision and navigation systems.....
 

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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I posted it because it's really a rally for "robots", The staged start, the occasional way points and varied surfaces etc. Just a curiosity.

Bernie
 

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Also note that @ 200 miles in 10 hours the vehicles must maintin an average speed of 20mph. some of the sections will be in the 12ft wide range. Creating a vehicle that will maintain 20Mph through an 'imaginary' 12ft corridor AND/OR open desert is a dificult task to say the least. The Gov wouldn't offer $1Million if it was an easy task, or if they currently possesed the technology to do it themselves. I would be surprised to see a successful attempt its first year; I just think there are too many unknowns. I would not be surprised to see it accomplished next year.
 

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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is definately the most difficult rally this year for all of those reasons and more. That's why they have the largest purse also.:)

If you read the article many of the things they are trying to due @ 20 miles an hour are comparable to a rally car @ 90+. Plus the discussion on stuff like setup and construction could have been accelerated by looking @ the rally community instead of starting from scratch.


Bernie

Just went to the DARPA site, it is really the way some goverment projects should be promoted. If some one goes to the opening ceremony/spectating, please post some pics.
 

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Cool, some chatter from the racing world about the Grand Challenge.

I'm one of the team members on the Red Team, wer're the team from CMU that's using the HMMWV.

I also have a ClubRally Scirocco, #729 (this is my first season). I come from the north AL area, a product of Twickenham Auto Club and TVR-SCCA.

It's the project of a lifetime. I'm glad I got on board. I'm here helping with the Radar.
Our HMMWV is running strong. We have many sponsors who are helping us out. From the racing side of things, Rod Hall gave a lot of parts and help to make the HMMWV rally-worth (although it is pretty tough to begin with). Chip Ganassi is also a sponsor.
You can see all the sponsors and other stuff at the RedTeam website,
www.redteamracing.org

A couple of days ago, we showed the vehicle at the Intel Developer Forum in SanFran; we kinda stole the show, it was wild, we got mobbed.
Wired wrote an article about it:
http://www.wired.com/news/autotech/0,2554,62333,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_6

Although I'm not mentioned by name in the SciAm article, the Blue colored radar chart is from me, and I'm the one pictured huched-over inside the car in the picture with the line of radar-reflectors.

-Aaron
ClubRally Scirocco #729
Autonomous HMMWV RedTeam
Digital Fuel Injected Lawnmower, but overgrown yard.
 

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L3> over crest, drops!
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Very, very, cool! Nice site too. From Club Rally, to the million dollar robovehicle race, quite a transition. Gives hope to those of us that want to make it to the Dakar someday.

Good Luck in the race, I hope you win the million...;)
 

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Sucker for good roads
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I'll be there, as a government official for the event. Great idea to post pictures - I'll try to do that during Qualification, Inspection, and Demonstration (QID) week Mar 8 - 12, then hopefully during the event. I was initially scheduled as a Chase Vehicle Judge, hot on the heels of a competition vehicle, but Doo **** interfere with the mandatory test and training weekend for that (and Doo **** definitely take priority!), so I'll just do QID, be a start line judge, then short cut ahead of them toward the finish, hopefully seeing them a few times on the way.

My initial look at the rules convinced me it would cost a lot more than $1M for me to come up with a capable surface- and obstacle-sensing system, etc. The vehicle (rally) part of it is the easy part - off road vehicles race in this area all the time, and adding motor controls to steering, throttle, and brake, and even the GPS and inertial navigation system to follow the route on the supplied CD-ROM of waypoints, are far more straightforward than the system that determines throttle/brake and steering position based on the sensed conditions in the few hundred feet in front of the vehicle. Some of the route will allow the vehicles to choose any path through a miles-wide corridor. The vehicles able to sense and stay on a road/trail can be much faster than the ones merely taking a straight line down the middle, encountering cliffs, etc. I was convinced only a major defense contractor that already had the sensor technology and/or was able to outspend the purse could win (and do it for prestige). I was even worried that nobody would successfully pass QID and even start the event. But looking at the websites convinces me a lot will qualify, and some may finish in time. They appear capable of handling the sensing, with laser range finding, radar, and video.
 

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7 miles... a bit short of completing the 142 mile challenge.

Congrats to Aaron for being in one of the few teams to make it that far.

Any stories yet as to what happened and why? As I stated, I did not expect anyone to finish within the alloted time(although I make that statement when the course was still in the 200 mile range), but I did expect better then 7 miles. half of the 13 car field didn't even make it 1 mile...
 

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According to DARPA's final data:

"Vehicle 22 Red Team (Carnegie Mellon): At mile 7.4, on switchbacks in a mountainous section, vehicle went off course, got caught on a berm and rubber on the front wheels caught fire, which was quickly extinguished. Vehicle was command-disabled."

"Vehicle 21 SciAutonics II: At mile 6.7, two-thirds of the way up Daggett Ridge, vehicle went into an embankment and became stuck. Vehicle was command-disabled."

"Vehicle 9 The Golem Group: At mile 5.2, while going up a steep hill, vehicle stopped on the road, in gear and with engine running, but without enough throttle to climb the hill. After trying for 50 minutes, the vehicle was command-disabled."

http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/media/final_data.pdf
 

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Thanks for the link Jim, pretty much describes all the DNF's.

"Vehicle 13 - Team ENSCO ? Vehicle moved out smartly, but, at mile 0.2, when making its first 90-degree turn, the vehicle flipped. Vehicle was removed from the course."

See, drivers are useful :p

Watch some of the qualifing videos and think to yourself "14.2 MPH average". None of them look close to being able to average these speeds yet (Red Team claims a trap speed of 36Mph at the quals). I expect we will see a dramatic improvement next year.
 
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The whole project sounds pretty fun.

I was wondering if any of the teams have incorporated traction control / intelligent vehicle dynamics control programs into their systems.

I suppose the flipping made me wonder about that :)
 

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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
>vehicle went off course, got caught on a berm and rubber on the front wheels caught fire

WOW!

How many of you drivers can do that! :+

I have to say I really thought one competitor could have done 20 or so miles. I was being facitious when I posted this originally and stated they might need our help, but upon review and from what is on the site it appears they don't have the basic concept of rallying down. I truly believe an analysis of the process in a rally car during a rally would give them some insight.

Having attended Allegheny I feel I can challenge the CarNAYgee guy's to put down the slide rules and visit STPR for a demonstration by you fast guy's on how to go quick over unkown roads with limited data and real time feedback. Remember they only had to go a little more than 14 mph avg.

Thanks Jim for following this, I was going to check but you beat me to it.

Bernie
 

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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just a friendly jab.

Check out the vehicle gallery, I think they could use Pete for some pointers as well.

http://www.grandchallenge.org/gallery/


Bernie

Edit/add on: Does'nt APC have a background in RC that might also be applicable to a limited degree?

See, there is a lot of crossover.:)
 

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If by APC you mean me, I was watching this with great interest. I don't think my RC skills would count for much!

But isn't it interesting that vehicles would flip, not have enough power to get up a hill while all else was OK (weight of the remote gear?), and get hung up on rocks? Seems like a classic engineering student's error (forgive me, engineers!) of solving all the complicated problems but ignoring the basic ones.

Rally driving is simply solving lots of little mechanical engineering problems really fast...

...Flirting with the laws of physics.

ACP.
 

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codriveur
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry about the dislexia. Yes I meant you. Humorously.

The lack of basic real world vehicle modification was what I was sure was going to be the problem from the moment I read about this and seems to have proved true. I am only slightly kidding when I think an analysis of a rally would prove helpful.

bko
 
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