Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Robotics Science

DARPA Semifinalists Selected 89

Posted by Zonk
from the go-speed-robot-go dept.
An anonymous reader writes "DARPA has selected thirty-six teams as Urban Challenge semifinalists to participate in the National Qualification Event. Both the webcast and press release can be found on the official site. Dr. Tony Tether reports that only 1 of the top 5 previous teams was rated in the top 5 of teams this year and 3 of the top 5 were not in the challenge finals last year. 'The semifinalists will compete in a final qualifying round at the site on October 26th and be whittled down to 20 teams. Those teams' vehicles will have to perform like cars with drivers to safely conduct a simulated battlefield supply mission on a 60-mile urban course, obeying California traffic laws while merging into traffic, navigating traffic circles and avoiding obstacles -- all in fewer than six hours. The team to successfully complete the mission with the fastest time wins.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DARPA Semifinalists Selected

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What could probably go wrong?
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      will one of them find Sarah Connor?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What could probably go wrong?

      How about if one of the automated vehicles crashes into a truck carrying nuclear weapons that was traveling through downtown LA. The engineers who designed the weapons had foreseen every possible accident scenario except this particular automated vehicle crashing into the back of the truck which causes the nuclear weapons to explode. Sleeper cell terrorists throughout the US see this as their signal so they detonate their hidden nuclear weapons in New York City, Washington, D.C., Houston, Chicago, etc.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Reminds of an old Dilbert strip (which, sadly, I cannot find a link to) where a potential customer is talking to Dilbert.

        Customer: Well, what's the worst case scenario?
        Dilbert: Our product could transform into a giant robot that annhiliates the universe.
        PHB: (freaking out the background)
        Dilbert: (Later, to Dogbert) Apparently, I don't know what "worst case" means.

    • by sethstorm (512897) *
      What could probably go wrong?
      Well, if they interpret the highway code as a couple of celebrities do so...
      • by nospam007 (722110)
        Well, if they interpret the highway code as a couple of celebrities do so...
        ---
        It's not me, Officer, my car drove under D.U.I and it's also his coke.
  • Anyone else think of the movie "Maximum Overdrive" when they first heard about this?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Assuming that we are still in Afghanistan in ten years ... and I wouldn't bet that we won't be ... a fleet of these vehicles could really even things up with the Taliban. Imagine the Taliban ambush a vehicle to kidnap the occupants and too late they realize that the occupants are dummies. The vehicle explodes. YES! The terrorists get a taste of their own medicine.
    • by sveard (1076275)
      I bet these autonomous vehicles perform really well in the mountains, yes...
      • by FleaPlus (6935)
        I bet these autonomous vehicles perform really well in the mountains, yes...

        I imagine they'd perform pretty well along supply routes, which is the application they're currently targeted towards.
        • by Animats (122034)

          I bet these autonomous vehicles perform really well in the mountains, yes...

          The 2005 Grand Challenge course had narrow roads cut out of the side of mountains, with no guard rails. The vehicles that finished all made it through there, even the huge military truck from Oskosh.

          • by FleaPlus (6935)
            The 2005 Grand Challenge course had narrow roads cut out of the side of mountains, with no guard rails. The vehicles that finished all made it through there, even the huge military truck from Oskosh.

            Yup, I was actually at the 2005 challenge, and remember that little mountain pass. I remember talking with people about how it was a really good thing that the mountain pass was near the end of the course, because otherwise some of the vehicles which had gotten knocked out earlier in the race probably would've e
      • by Talennor (612270)

        I bet these autonomous vehicles perform really well in the mountains
        Yeah, I can tell you the Florida one isn't exactly designed for roads that change altitude more than a couple feet. Not that it would die, but it would have a host of problems. I'd imagine that the other teams are testing in parking lots, too. So UF wouldn't be the only one with problems in the mountains.
        • [Ignoring the fact that the off-road contest has already come and gone...] Insight Racing is modifying a Lotus Elise. It's done pretty well so far on the track, and shouldn't have any trouble with tight mountain roads. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any cargo space. Oh well...
    • by gijoel (628142)
      No, the Taliban ambushes the vehicle in order to kidnap the occupants. The car promptly turns into a freakin huge robot that proceeds to beat the tar out of them.
      • by peragrin (659227)
        You have watched Transformers one to many times. We are no way that skilled. the best we can do is have Asivmo climb out of the car and shake their hands, while detonating a bomb inside his chest.
  • by kithrup (778358) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @07:48PM (#20176897)

    How do they put a seatbelt on the computer?

  • Scoring? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kclittle (625128) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @07:51PM (#20176923)
    "The team to successfully complete the mission with the fastest time wins."

    Now, exactly how many points per pedestrian?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by astrotek (132325)
      they have to obey traffic laws so I think a pedestrian (hit and run) is 2 points

      Some examples of one point violations:

      * A traffic conviction.
      * An at-fault accident.

      Examples of two point violations:

      * Reckless driving or hit-and-run driving
      * Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
      * Hit-and-run driving
      * Driving while suspended or revo
  • Course Prep? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by silentbozo (542534)
    It'll be interesting to see what kind of modifications they make to the course, either to add signage and other course markings, or to degrade what already exists to make it more challenging. I was particularly interested in finding out that they'll be using the section of the base (now the Southern California Logistics Airport) that the Army's been using for MOUT (military operations in urban terrain) training.

    If the competitors aren't careful, there might be some new wrecks to add to scenario training...
    • by Ironsides (739422)
      There are going to be radio control stop commands issued by DARPA if two cars get too close. This should prevent two cars from colliding.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      That would be interesting. What would the cars do if they put a roadblock along the road? Would they hop over the pedestrian lane or something. What would they do if Team Oshkosh decided to do the blocking with their truck.... Anyway it just caught my eye that Team Oshkosh would be using a truck for this one.. hmmm...
    • by fshavlak (1140953)
      Signage is not a part of the challenge. Road lines are. As far as the course conditions, that's anyone's guess. Weather conditions are just as dangerous to a team. My team (Team Berlin) had rain on our site visit, followed by sunshine. Our computer vision broke down almost entirely as the road lines were not visible to the computer through the reflected glare of the sun. I guess we still passed the test, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I for one welcome our never-stopping-when-making-a-right-turn overlords.

    Oh, that's not the law? It sure seems like it. :)
  • Tether? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jpellino (202698) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @09:02PM (#20177477)
    The guy in charge of uber-autonomous robots is named TETHER?

    You can't make this stuff up.

    • Actually, Tony Tether is not just in charge of this challenge, he is in charge of DARPA (he is the director of DARPA).
      He is known to be overly involved (everything that is funded through DARPA gets the direct blessing of him... i.e. he does not trust any of the program managers to fund without his involvement).
    • Furthermore,

      Dr. Tether noted, "The vehicles must perform as well as someone with a California Driver's License."
      So does the challenge include drive-by shooting?
  • "...obeying California traffic laws while..."

    I'm working from memory here, so I could be wrong, but to the best of my recollection, Calif. Motor Vehicle Code stipulates that a motor vehicle is required to be under the control of an approved driver at all times.

    Hell - break one, break 'em all :")
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Talennor (612270)
      I remember when the California governor was in a movie where he was a robot driving around town. I think this means we'll be alright.
  • Interesting how DARPA connects a battlefield simulation to driving across California. I assume the test-track will the I-10.
  • The had a race to see who could build a robot to navigate across the desert the fastest, and none of the entrants completed the course... so they say, "okay, now who can navigate through a city the fastest?" Doesn't seem to me like the right time to raise the bar.
    • by Ironsides (739422)
      The had a race to see who could build a robot to navigate across the desert the fastest, and none of the entrants completed the course... so they say, "okay, now who can navigate through a city the fastest?" Doesn't seem to me like the right time to raise the bar.

      That was Grand Challenge I. The reheald it a year or two later and had several teams finish. Urban Challenge was only started after they had a successful Grand Challenge.
    • Re:I don't get it... (Score:4, Informative)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday August 10, 2007 @12:02AM (#20178677)

      In the 2005 Darpa Grand Challenge [wikipedia.org] "Stanley [wikipedia.org]", Stanford University's entry, a Volkswagen Touareg wagon, won, beating several other entrants that completed the course. The team was led by Sebastian Thune; Stanley was remarkable for having a relatively simple LIDAR/GPS sensor array, unlike many of the other entries, but had extremely sophisticated software and machine learning and high autonomy, whereas it's main competition, CMUs "H1ander", had extremely involved sensing and was programmed with an extremely detailed course route, but its complex directional LIDAR array failed early in the race, and though it could compensate, it completed the course slow.

      Find the NOVA episode if you can, truly fascinating. I hate how NOVA ScienceNow is so attention-span limited.

  • I can imagine the first requirement of a US military invasion force, will be to impose California driving laws on the newly conquered country, thus enabling their array of robot trucks.

    Thank god my right-hand driving country does not have vast oil reserves; driving on the wrong side of the road would be too freaky.

  • Cool, if you want to halt an invasion you just have to place a stop sign at a strategic point. I love robotic vehicles that obey Cal. traffic laws...
  • And what if... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Enleth (947766)
    ...the Talibs put a "No entry" traffic sign on a supply route?
  • Ether they are taking traffic jams into account or they dont expect these robots to do more than 10-15mph.

    So, what if they all come into the finish line with traffic violation tickets under their windshields for moving too slow? Would they then award it to the one with the fewest tickets? :)

    Corse Im assuming that by 'following California traffic laws' that they would be required to have licence plates, not tailgate, travel the speed limit, etc. Wouldnt that also meen the robots would need valid drivers lice

news: gotcha

Working...