“First robotic car to hit a car driven by a human” – Axion Racing interview

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

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) – 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.

On Sunday, the bot collided into a chase car during a test of the vehicle’s merging capabilities.  During the run, the car had to drive through an oval course with a dozen human-driven Ford Taurus chase cars in the way.  At one intersection, Spirit managed to avoid the front car, but hit another car that was following behind it.  The team believes the bot’s cameras might have had difficulty in detecting the dark blue color of the collided Taurus

 

Kehaly said that ALICE may go down in history as the “first (robotic) car to hit a car driven by a human”.  He added that the team has placed a car decal – with an X through it – on ALICE.  “I think if I get four more cars, I’ll get an ace,” joked Kehaly.