Victorville (CA) – It seems like Caltech’s ALICE bot has a liking for human-driven chase cars at the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications. During one qualification run, the robotic minivan repeatedly went out of its assigned lane and veered towards the chase cars. One of the human drivers even screeched his tires to get out of the way.
Caltech was eliminated from the Urban Challenge qualifications yesterday.
DARPA officials have just eliminated six more teams from any further qualification runs and the Urban Challenge race itself. The eliminated teams are 1. Caltech 2. Mojavaton 3. Team Jefferson 4. Team Urbanator 5. Gator Nation 6. Team Juggernaut.
It was a good run, but Team Gator Nation was eliminated from the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications the same day its bot crashed into a concrete wall. The robotic Toyota Highlander drove out of the starting chute on Course B and just went straight into a “K-Rail” barrier. Unfortunately, we arrived a few seconds too late, but our cameras captured the damage done to the bot.
Victorville (CA) – At first glance the blue Volkswagen Passat looks like any other car, well if you excuse the spinning laser sensors, numerous corporate logos and a big white number “3” plastered on the driver side windshield. But the windshield obstruction isn’t a big deal because this car from Stanford University doesn’t need a driver and from what we’ve seen at the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications in Victorville this week, the robotic car “Junior” performs just as well – if not better – than most human drivers
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Houston (TX) – Scientists from the University of Houston have developed an enhanced platinum catalyst for fuel cells that could become an important step on the path toward mass-market hydrogen automobiles.
Members of the Golem Group team candidly told us what cause their robot’s crash during a qualification run at the DARPA Urban Challenge. The “Golem 3” robotic Prius had been running qualification course A fairly smoothly until it froze up at a virtual stop sign. When the bot was started up again, it veered sharply to the left and crashed into a curb.
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There are still two days left at the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications, but officials are already eliminating teams because of poor performance. DARPA has just told us that six teams have been eliminated and will no longer participate in any more qualification runs. The eliminations will free up slots for the other more capable teams.
While the DARPA Urban Challenge race could be the first time robotic vehicles drive 60 miles through a simulated city environment, one of the contestants is reveling in another first. Bill Kehaly, team leader of Axion Racing, told us that he’s quite proud that his bot “Spirit” was the first robotic car to hit a human-driven car.
Victorville (CA) – Caltech, a powerhouse engineering university in Pasadena California, is going for DARPA gold at the Urban Challenge qualifications in Victorville California. The school's “ALICE” van is bristling with laser units and a very unique tilting and panning LIDAR unit that some have called the “all seeing eye”.
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Victorville (CA) – While crashes are probably the most spectacular things spectators and media have seen at the DARPA Urban Challenge qualification runs, smooth runs are equally amazing from an academic view. Golem Group’s Prius crashed on Sunday, but smoothly completed seven laps around Test Area A before the wreck.
Victorville (CA) – Sting Racing’s bot “Sting 1” had another scrape with a concrete wall at the DARPA Urban Challenge in Victorville California. The collision happened Sunday, one day after the robotic car spectacularly smashed into another concrete wall. Team members say the damage from Sunday's collission was very minor and that the sensors were still functional.
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Gaithersburg (MD) - Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a reliable way to create nanowires just a few nanometers in diameter. Previous efforts in growing nanowires commercially at this scale have met with significant limitations, especially when attempting to grow in a desired direction. But now, NIST researchers believe they have found one solution which has been shown to accurately connect nanoscopic circuits.
Victorville (CA) – This could be world’s first autonomous burnout and crash of a Toyota Prius. At the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications in Victorville California today, the Golem Group's “Golem 3” bot ran most of its course smoothly, but after a computer glitch and code readjustment, it turned sharply left, burned out its tires and crashed into the curb. The crash hurtled the car over and flattened one tire.
So far the crashes at the DARPA Urban Challenge have been restricted between robots and concrete, but today we saw Axion Racing’s vehicle “Spirit” collide with a human-driven chase car. Fortunately the driver was unhurt, but the Ford Taurus he was driving wasn’t so lucky. The car now has a long gash and decent sized dent in the back-right quarter panel.
After several hours of work into the wee hours of the night, it appears that Sting Racing has largely fixed the damage caused during Saturday’s crash at the DARPA Urban Challenge qualifications. The team’s robotic car had rammed a concrete wall at approximately 24 MPH which warped the front bumper sensor frame upwards. We spoke with team leader and George Tech associate professor Tucker Balch about the repairs we also interviewed on video another team member Magnus Egerstedt.