Is anybody reading the blogs and NQE results?
People are very confident that there will be not only a winner this year but
more than one team crossing the finish line. Seems that so far Stanford (the
Touareg guys) have cleaner runs but Red teams (CMU - the red hummers) are a
What do you guys think? I think that 2 or 3 miles qualification on an
synthetic course is way different than the open desert... who knows?
Personally, I'd like to see a grand challenge 2006. But it would be nice to
see a team finishing the course this year. I'm going to Vegas next Friday
and I'm gonna be there to watch.
I sure would like to be around there to have a look see.
You're right about the real world vs. the synthetic... but with 23 strong
contenders, it sure looks like this time SOMEONE will make it to the
I see where the one and only Canuck team (Autonosys) failed to qualify.
Kind of like my home team for me eh! :-)ooo
I also would like to see this sort of thing happen on a regular basis.
A little competition spurs innovation... Or whatever.
BTW, what blogs are you following?
"Open the pod bay doors, HAL!"
While I love the Grand Challenge,
the main news site is nearly unusable. It uses flash for everything
and is not rendered well on my main system, an old, wimpy, slow, low
resolution, low color machine.
There may be a text version of the site, which they'd need to comply with
assorted accessibility rules, but I can't see enough of the site to
Such a cool idea, such a lousey website.
I have the same access problems as I live in the boonies
and can only get dial up.
I also thought that there might be some non sanctioned blogs that
took a more critical approach to the competition.
Any bookies calling the odds? :-)ooo
Looks like we got a race this year! As of 9:24 AM CST, here are the
standings thus far:
Red Team Too
Distance travelled so far: 27 miles
Time on track: 1 hr 1 min
Standford Racing Team
Distance travelled so far: 24 miles
Time on track: 58 min
Distance travelled so far: 23 miles
Time on track: 59 min
Distance travelled so far: 19 miles
Time on track: 41 min
Intelligent Vehicle Safety Tech
Distance travelled so far: 19 miles
Time on track: 37 min
Distance travelled so far: 17 miles
Time on track: 30 min
Pretty sweet...they're releasing bots every five minutes...about a half
dozen or so were already eliminated, but a number of contenders are
obviously doing it up right. Results taken from
Official times for the four finishers were announced at noon today.
Stanford wins the $2 million prize!
6:53:58 (avg 19.1 mph) - Stanford
7:04:50 (avg 18.6 mph) - Red Team Too (Carnegie Mellon)
7:14:00 (avg 18.2 mph) - Red Team
7:30:16 (avg 17.5 mph) - Gray Team (funded by an insurance company!)
Oshkosh's TerraMax is through the Beer Bottle Pass, and is expected to
finish within the hour, although with an adjusted time beyond the ten
hour race limit. None of the other finalists completed the course.
12 hours, 51 minutes.
From their blog:
Mile 5: Excitement quickly became frustration as our vehicle was
enveloped by high winds and debilitating dust - wind and dust that
didn't exist for the first competitors that left the starting gate
Mile 65: Dissapointment began to set in as TerraMax appears to be
developing a problem, speed has decreased dramatically and navigation
has become tentative. We won't understand the problem until we see it
at the finish line.
We look forward to tomorrow with pessimistic optimism.
video of TerraMax during the trials at the speedway, it took a long time
to get through one gate, backing up a several times before finallly
"deciding" to go through. Seems as thouggh maybe it was over engineered.
But hey, what do I know, I can't even spell DARPA. And they did finish
the course. If anything, they were given specail consideration and
allowed to resume the second day.
I don't think they're blaming that for not winning. The second
excerpt points out that they had some sort of other problem.
Red Team Too also suffered some unknown technical glitch which put
them out of first place.
All sorts of things happened. Cajunbot's servo motor burned out while
it was "paused" waiting for congestion to clear.
Those are the breaks.
Yeah - I got bored watching it, so I didn't see how many times they
had to back up.
Yeah - not really special consideration - it was clear they didn't
come in under the 10 hour time limit.
Given that they were still running and 18 others had dropped out, I
think it was good that they let them finish even after 10 hours had
I was there and it was really windy, but that was true for everybody.
Terramax left the gate a few hours after the first team. They had to be
paused for at least 15 minutes because they were removing Alice (caltech if
I'm not mistaken) from the road (quite an entertaining crash, very close to
all us). The first teams could also blame light conditions as the sun was
not giving full light at dusk.
I don't know if at that point it was already "glitchy", but it took forever
for terramax to cross the railroad bridge close Buffalo Bill. It was stop
and go for at least 10 minutes.
Real pitty was team ENSCO... they got a flat tire at about 60 and something
miles... they were looking very good.
Not trying to take the shine off the winners, but I found that this year it
was much easier than last year. Less miles and the only challenging part was
beer bottle pass, on the last 7 miles of competition. All that said, teams
really improved from last year, as there was no spectacles on the starting
chute. Even the last team did close to 7 miles. (I think only one team
failed to start)
Overall, it was very fun to be there. Kudos for grayteam team that finished
very close to the big dogs.
The director of DARPA, Dr. Tony Tether, has announced that
there will NOT be another Grand Challenge next year. At
least not one for autonomous ground vehicles.
It's over. Now to commercialize the technology.
humm, What happend last year? oh yeah, what about the Civilian Grand
Challenge? Wasn't it going to be called the International Robotic Race
Federation, IRRF? At one time I suggested to race in Baja.
Sure! A few things that are still fresh in my mind.
- The organization was very good, at least from my point of view. The only
thing I didn't know was the annoying announcer. I believe he must've been
thinking he was narrating a NASCAR race... and his jokes were not really
- I was expecting to see some of the smaller teams to crash in the starting
chute (I know, evil me. but we all have that old primal roman arena
instinct, don't we?) but neither did... I guess the technical level really
rose from last year.
- The sun rising and the headlights of stanley, highlander and sandstorm at
the starting chute was really beautifull
- It was very nice that some of the teams that didn't make at the NQE was
also there and exposing their cars to the public. Special thanks to team
Banzai and Ghostrider. They gave very good demonstrations of their
- One of the highlights of the day was really Alice running on the berm. The
bots left the starting chute going north Las Vegas bound, spend some time on
the dry lake then return to another pass close to the stands (very well
thought for entertaining purposes). While we were watching other teams being
released from the starting chute, suddenly everybody was "woooow". Then I
looked at the berm and there it was alice. She came close to those big
concrete islands, run over it and was climbing the berm when I think the
shadow vehicle hit the e-stop. Otherwise I believe it would succesfully
climb the berm, tear the fence apart and just continue forward towards the
crowd.... it looked like a tractor.
- Terramax was one of the most waited bots to be launched from the starting
- The healthy competition between stanford and cmu. The cheering when the
speaker announced that stanford had passed highlander, and more cheering
when stanley appeared on the live broadcast of beer bottle pass.
- The three first bots coming from the beer bottle pass and crossing the
finish line. The stands completely full of people, all cheering and
screaming for the robots.
- The 3-D live tracking of the bots were really great. My only complain is
that it should be in a place where a greater number of people could be
watching it constantly.
Well, this is what I could remember. I'm sure there is much more to it. And
as the speaker told at least 18 times: one more page on the history books
were being written right before our eyes...
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