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[Robot Cars] DARPA Urban Challenge

 
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Hi,
DARPA's third robot car competition will take place on Nov. 3st. The entirely autonomous vehicles must complete a 60 mile course in a mock urban environment in less than 6 hours. They must act as if they had a californian driver license. On Nov 1 the 20 finalist will be annouced.

Some extraordinary semi-finalists:

Team Oshkosh is cool because they accepted the challenge the hard way. They try to maneuver their monstrous TerraMax Truck through the course. Can only make trucks safer.

Team Sting. I bet "Sting" is short for "money extinction". Quote: "The Cayenne was also chosen for space and power. The team felt that no other vehicle could hold and power all of the computers". Felt? A team of scientist? Booooo

My favorite is Team LUX. They have realistic chances, because they have pre-production laser scanners of the next generation. Interesting is that their bot looks like a normal production car. All gadgets, apart from the mandatory emergency stop buttons, are hidden. whether they win or loose, they'll do it with style .

Here is the complete team list.

DARPA events have this special potential for historic relevance. Reason enough to track the race here.
Do you have more interesting info, news, thougts, bets?

cb
[ October 27, 2007: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
 
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It's amazing that this type of behavior, which really, 20 years ago everyone thought would just be standard stuff, has been so hard to achieve.

It's certainly intersting.

I like the RIMs on Team Lux the best too. Very similar to the ones on my BMW. They've definitely got my support. Style is important too!


-Cameron McKenzie
[ October 27, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
 
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Cool. I had read somewhere that the next race would be in 2008. (This was right after the last race.) I'm pleasantly surprised. Thanks for announcing it here so I know to watch on Saturday
 
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The desert race was really hard, and it was amazing the progress the teams made in a year. Even the teams that failed were amazing, one had a riderless motorcycle, it was impressive.

I assume this one will be hard as well, I expect they'll have robotic little old ladies crossing against the lights, balls followed by kids, etc.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Bumping because the challenge just started.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Originally posted by Chris Baron:
Reason enough to track the race here.
Do you have more interesting info, news, thougts, bets?


Popular Mechanics is running a live blog of the event.

And some cool stuff from my point of view:
- MIT has a cluster of 10 laptops + power source + air conditioner (cooling source) --> 8,000 pounds of gear.
- The gear on top of some the cars looks interesting, but the focus is more on AI/decision making. In fact Cornell's car is an SUV with a camera and some sensors on top. Last year's desert race was more conducive to interesting looking designs. This year is more for normal cars.
- OshKosh's truck looks interesting.
- The aerial shots on the video are good.
- One car has a police siren - this is going to get annoying quickly
- They have a mechanism to pause all cars at same time. (8:39 CA time) had to pause cars because one broke down.
- They let cars continue with a time penalty for certain things

[edited to fix link and add more interesting things]
[ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Jeanne Boyarsky ]
 
Chris Baron
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Here is a live video streaming. I'm watching it now for over an hour.
It's really fun to watch. Actually it's much more interesting than a high speed car race (e.g. Formular 1).

  • Oshkosh is out. It looked like he was e-breaked while attacking a building
  • AnnieWay is out. Had descision probs on a traffic circle the size of an airfield
  • Intelligent Vehicle Systems' XAV-250 is out. It had descision probs from the start

  • [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    More interesting stuff that isn't mentioned on popular mechanic's blog. Or my commentary: (I went out for 40 minutes so most of this is from the recap)
    - Video of UCF going around a stalled car
    - Video of TeraMax (Osh Kosh Truck) sitting near building. Sad! This was an interesting looking entry
    - The live video feed is good and impressively handling bandwidth demands
    - The status board on the other hand is still completely blank
    - During a lull, they showed a recap of the 2004 race. I forgot how cute some of those entries were! Like the motorcycle mentioned above and the vacummn cleaner like one
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Originally posted by Chris Baron:
    Here is a live video streaming. I'm watching it now for over an hour.
    It's really fun to watch.


    Definitely fun to watch! I watched 7:45 - 9:05 (intro, launch and first recap) and 9:55 - ? (I'm three hours ahead and took a break for lunch. Bad time to leave as I missed the first three to go out.)

    Thanks for sharing the reason the first three went out.
     
    Chris Baron
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    Good Morning Jeanne
    You didn't miss much. There was just an announcement on the radio to hear.

    The MIT and (more) CarOLO as newcomers seem to lack legacy code for dirt roads
    [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Good morning to you to Chris. Legacy code

    What time zone are you in? I'm in Eastern so this started a good time for me (11am)

    More interesting stuff for anyone reading this after:
    - two teams finished the first set of missions (they need to complete three sets) within a couple minutes of each other
    - UCF drove into a house
    - the police siren on one team's car is still really annoying - I keep looking out the window to see what happened!
    - A screen shot of two cars facing each other in a "stand off"
    - A pigeon, sea gull or duck walked by the off road area during this stand off
    [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Jeanne Boyarsky ]
     
    Chris Baron
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    Ooops here it is evening (see my sig). I thought it was morning for you even though you wrote about lunch
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Originally posted by Chris Baron:
    Ooops here it is evening (see my sig). I thought it was morning for you even though you wrote about lunch


    Gotcha. I saw your sig, but didn't know what JRT was. I now realize it was "JavaRanch time". I was writing the times in my post in California time since that where the robots are.
     
    Chris Baron
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    I found JRT funny back then
    The police siren is CMU's Boss. It performes very speedy and it looks great.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    - I can't believe I'm spending hours watching traffic
    - VA Tech parked nicely in the parking lot. I like those spots where you can just pull in and out without having to go back and forth.
    - 10:39 - fourth team out - This is the team that parked by hitting a house.
    - Stanford brought an inflatable Santa to show what they used to test their car would stop for people/animals without putting anyone at risk.
    - Stanford showed their rack of two computers.
    - 10:49 - two more teams completed mission #1 - Little Ben and Boss.

    > I found JRT funny back then
    JRT is funny. I just didn't get it right away.

    > The police siren is CMU's Boss. It performes very speedy and it looks great.
    That it does. It's just the sounds I don't like!
     
    Chris Baron
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    Originally posted by Jeanne Boyarsky:
    - I can't believe I'm spending hours watching traffic



    So true But each time i think it's getting boaring something weird happens.
    At the moment MIT and CarOLO had an almost crash on this airfield sized traffic circle. Too crazy, so much space.
    [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Chris Baron ]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    - Go Linux. The Ben Franklin team (Philly) thought it was worth mentioning the OS they are using.
    - MIT & Corolo head on again as Chris pointed out. A human driven car was able to avoid them just fine. It's funny seeing a human get in the stuck cars to reposition one. I like that they are letting the teams continue with a time penalty (rather than eliminate them) when something like this happens.
    - They used the phrase "reboot the car". Is this something we have to look forward to as cars get smarter? The blue screen of death on a highway.

    Going out again for about 45 minutes to buy groceries. I'm trying to position this so I don't miss the hour recap
     
    Chris Baron
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    - CarOLO is out. Even though it looked like MIT was in the wrong direction in the circle i assume it was rated as an descision problem and it was not it's first. It got stuck in an offroad excursion from the dirt track.

    I afraid MIT won't make either. Another weakness and it's out.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    And I made it back for the recap with 5 minutes to spare

    - Good time to take a break. I saw the near colision; just didn't know it hit CARolo.
    - They showed all the computers/monitors at DARPA's command center.
    - It wasn't the most interesting of recaps. They went over the standings, but the robot footage was low. Most of it was interviews.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    - Showed "Global 360 Pamorama Video" which looks like you are viewing the video through a car's windshield. They said that this is what the robots are seeing. Which is essentially waht a human would see.
    - The cars have side sensors to simulate looking over your shoulder at the blind spot.
    - VA Tech drove off the road and then stopped. It recovered quickly on it's own.
    - The Boss has an interesting parking technique. It drove through a number of spots, parked and then drove through another number of spots to get out. This isn't the driving straight through that many of us do in a lot. This is diagonally driving over a lane or spots. Good thing there are no other cars around.
    - 12:30 - first car crash. MIT tried to pass Cornell.
     
    Chris Baron
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    The first crash. MIT crashed into Cornell.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Originally posted by Chris Baron:
    The first crash. MIT crashed into Cornell.


    Beat you by a minute . The cars seem ok and able to continue.
     
    Chris Baron
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    Yes, but i wonder why they don't take MIT out. I find it arbitrarily and unfair.
     
    Chris Baron
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    Maybe it's because it hasn't any chance to win anymore. But it's a threat to the well performing bots. The whole competition has lost credibility to me for now. I'm out for some beers.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Chris: I agree. Hitting another car isn't like getting stuck. And it's certainly worse than pausing for too long. The rules are always arbitrary and unfair. But it's confusing what they are valuing here.

    - MIT has more sensors than any other car in the competition. The irony of having this featured/stated RIGHT AFTER MIT caused a crash.
    - Teramax Osh Kosh's Truck was featured this hour. They compared it with last year's entry which was interesting.
    - All 6 teams completed first two missions.

    Less than an hour to go!
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    - showed VA Tech successfuly passing two cars
    - stated a big emphasis is on safety. MIT?
    - stated scoring procedures are complex - I wonder when we find out the winner
    - the "parking" is a GPS based assigned spot. Not quite the way a human would do it
    - 1:45 - Standford is the first to cross the finish line (it doesn't mean they won; just that they completed it. There are penalties and different start times. It does mean that at least one team completed it.)
    - Tartan's Boss (Carnegie Mellon) finished a minute after Stanford.
    - next to finish at 1:51 is VA Tech's Odin
    [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Jeanne Boyarsky ]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    I went out for an hour and a half and was pleased to find that the challenge is still going on. Pleased that I get to see the end, not that it is going so long. The only finisher I missed was Ben Franklin.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    And the final finishers:
    3:35 - MIT's Talon. They should have lots of penalties though. There was the crash discussed above and an alleged second one.

    And one minute later - Cornell's Skynet. Six teams made it through the course. It was nice seeing them make it. Especially the NY team, Cornell.

    Now there is a difference on information.
    From the popular mechanics blog: The last two didn't make it in under 6 hours. They will be announcing the winners based on points/penalties at 10:00am PST.

    From the online program:
    All 6 made it in under 6 hours accounting for pauses. The winners will be announced sometime tomorrow morning.
    [ November 03, 2007: Message edited by: Jeanne Boyarsky ]
     
    Chris Baron
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    CMU's Boss has been announced as winner.
    Great event all in all. Certainly not easy to organize with all it's imponderabilities.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Wired has a great blog on this with pictures.

    I'm impressed with the broadcasting job they did on this. It's not the most exciting even on the surface (slow cars obeying traffic laws), but they did it well.
     
    Rancher
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    I want to complain to you guys - you cost me about 3 hours of my life yesterday. The clickstream was kind of like this: Urban Challenge blog linked above -> Wikipedia: Victorville AFB -> Wikipedia: USAF in Europe -> Wikipedia: USAF in Germany -> Wikipedia: Ramstein AFB, Kaiserslautern Military Community, Spangdahlem Air Base and Rhein-Main Air Base -> Youtube: Videos of the Ramstein Air Show Disaster and various hard landing videos -> Wikipedia: Berlin Airlift and Berlin Blockade -> lostplaces.de, a web site about disused military (and other) installations (a full hour spent here alone) -> CIA: Declassified reports on the intelligence war in Berlin 1946-1961, particularly the Berlin tunnel operation -> Truman Library, Report to the President about the situation in Berlin and Germany, July 1948 (during the Berlin Blockade) -> CIA: Books and Monographs -> CIA: the Oxcart/SR-71 program

    Highly fascinating and educational, though Here are the CIA books and monographs, and the memorandum to President Truman.
    [ November 04, 2007: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Originally posted by Ulf Dittmer:
    I want to complain to you guys


    You're welcome . This cost me about 6 hours of my life. 5 hours watching Saturday and an hour reading the results today. But it was fun!
     
    Good night. Drive safely. Here's a tiny ad for the road:
    Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
    https://products.aspose.com/total/java
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