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”.
However the bot met its match on test area A which tests the robot’s vehicle merging capabilities against twelve human driven cars. While Alice had no problems going through the straight-aways (other than riding the brakes), the turns presented a huge problem as it had to stop and backup several times. With human drivers honking away – something which they have been instructed to do if they see a dangerous situation. – ALICE meandered around the course.
ALICE had better luck yesterday with the other two test areas (B and C) where it has to negotiate traffic circles and four-way intersections. It completed test area B which is a two mile course in about 25 minutes. At test area C, ALICE completed most tasks, but had to be paused at the end.