Infinity Goods blog

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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous’

Tell Your Car to Pick Up the Milk

Posted by infinitygoods on November 5, 2007

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And DARPA’s Urban Challenge Event autonomous robot car winners are:

  1. Tartan Racing — Carnegie Mellon and General Motors with “Boss,” a Chevy Tahoe taking the $2 million first prize;
  2. Stanford Racing Team — Stanford University with “Junior,” a VW Passat gets the $1 million second prize;
  3. Victor Tango Team — Virginia Tech with “Odin,” a Ford Escape Hybrid claims third prize of $500, 000.

I hope all of you reading this post realize just how exciting this all is. Our 10-year-old son is quite excited that his very own science teacher competes in the Pentagon’s DARPA Challenge each year. This is the third challenge. Nobody won in 2004, and Stanford won the $2 million first prize last year.

Our son, who already wanted to be a scientist to follow in his Grandpa’s impressive footsteps, is even more energized now that he has seen and touched his teacher’s autonomous robotic car.

His teacher tells us that not only will these “auto-mobiles” be used for military purposes such as transport through danger zones (DARPA’s goal is by 2015), but much sooner than we think, we’ll be able to tell our cars to go pick up the milk for us at the grocery store. This is not science-fiction fantasies, it is our own near future.

Already car makers are fine-tuning driver assistance systems where the car is constantly monitoring the road for the driver, warning the driver of hazards and as soon as the driver touches the brakes, the car applies the brakes at just the necessary pressure.

We hope to get many more details at our son’s next science class, but in the meantime, you can watch the video and look at pictures on DARPA’s Web site.

All the science and technology media are writing about it too. You can check out WIRED and Popular Mechanics‘ numerous articles and blog posts on their Web sites.

And if you didn’t read my previous post on Oct. 26, 2007 about autonomous cars, be sure to check it out FIRST. It will give you all the basics to understand what it’s all about.

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Autonomous Robot Car Drives Itself — What a RASCAL!

Posted by infinitygoods on October 26, 2007

UPDATE: For the winners & additional information, click here for my Nov. 5, 2007 post.

We had such an exciting science class yesterday! Our son’s science teacher is a research scientist and has helped build an autonomous robot car named RASCAL.

RASCAL is autonomous, NOT, I repeat, NOT remote controlled. It drives itself!! With sensors, a GPS system, lots and lots of computer software and a laptop in the back, RASCAL drives without a driver!

The Grand Challenge is set by the U.S. government, and the grand prize last year was $2 million won by Stanford University, but RASCAL was one of the top finalists.

The U.S. government is hoping that they can have fully functional autonomous cars by year 2015 (that’s only about 7 years from now!!) so that soldiers won’t get shot or bombed while transporting supplies.

RASCAL is competing again in the 3rd Grand Challenge, the “Urban Challenge” to be held near Victorville on Sat., Nov. 3.

The Grand Challenge folks have promised to have a live webcast, so stay tuned as they announce more details in the next week.

Check the website at www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/index.asp, or if you’re in the area and you’re an early bird, go out and see the excitement in person! It starts early 😉 !

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