Axion Racing’s bot collides into chase car at Urban Challenge

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

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.

Victorville (CA) – 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.

The bot appeared to normally cross into a T-intersection and began a left turn.  It stopped for one chase car, but then accelerated and slammed into another car that was following close behind.  The specially trained stunt drivers have often sped up to avoid collisions, but this time there was nothing that could be done.  Speeding up would have only resulted in rear ending the slower vehicle in front.

The DARPA Urban Challenge is a unique robotic race where autonomous vehicles must avoid other vehicles driven by stunt drivers.  The drivers all wear crash helmets and are in specially prepared Ford Taurus vehicles with roll cages.