DARPA Grand Challenge



here

benefit

to

Good

having

But the glasier bought a suit, which he would not have been able to afford had his son not thrown the brick through the window.

could

Maybe, maybe not. Reality is everything that happens, not a bunch of what ifs.
Many university programs are working on such

but

be

will

never

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Indeed, the money might have been spent on developing biological weapons of mass destruction, and there could have been an accident in the lab, and the germ could have run rampant throughout the world and we'd all be dead. We'll never know.
If only Hitlers mother would have had an abortion, the world today would be even more overpopulated than it is, straining our resources even more.

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No, the glasier didn't get to buy the suit. He had to pay the lawyer to defend his son in court. Again. The lawyer looked very good in his new suit, though.
But what's different in the story, is not where the money ciculated, but that the baker, who has only a window, and no new suit is poorer. He is poorer, and therefore we are all poorer.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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If the baker would have had an insurance policy, the window would have been paid for by the insurance company. Additionaly, the glasiers son was never caught, he's been doing this for years and knows what he is doing. The issue here is that children in America are not being raised properly. The glasier is at the bar every night of the week while his son runs rampant. Father and son should be building robots in the garage.
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Just a funny story, huh? Well, here's a true one, for a little balance.
Last car load of "glazier's sons" who shot my front windows out at work, and again with me infront of it, didn't seem to like it when I replied with a full clip of .380. They slowed down and pulled over. I had another clip, but if one wouldn't do it... so I went in for my shotgun loaded with double-ought buck and slugs. They decided to leave before I got back. Thank goodness. Since the car didn't roll over, explode, or catch fire, like you'd expect from watching movies, the next week I went out and bought a Desert Eagle .44 mag. and body armor for personal defense. But I'm getting ahead of my story. Anyway, that night, we called the incident in. The police never even came out. We gave up, cleaned up and went home. In the morning we checked again, and the police had written it off as a false alarm. So I swept up the 40+ lbs of broken glass, and shipped it to the mayor of Dallas, with a note asking if they thought that looked like a false alarm. Don't think I ever got a reply back, but its been 15 years ago.
The glass at New Micros has been shot out several times. It costs $600 to $1000 to replace it, depending on how much of it they actually hit.
You see, you all are laughing about academics, a silly example from a book, with no personal attachment or sympathy for the participants. I've been the baker. I know what it costs. I know what you don't get to buy with the money that replaces the glass. The baker is not only poorer, he's angry too. In Texas, criminal mischief at night, is one of the listed reason allowing the use deadly force. The glazier's son had best take a lesson, if having his car shot up wasn't enough.
What has this to do with robotics? You know, I always wanted to make a camera system that could track a car on the road, particularly if it detects shots fired. It just occurred to me, I now have the motion control and camera experience necessary to do it. Wonder if I'll ever get around to it... Well, the steel plate we put over the door has stopped most of the glass loss, so we just don't feel as urgent about it as we used to.
Why is it most of us can't get it, why is it we just laugh at it, until we walk in the other guys shoes? That's not a good sign for our future well being or security.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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Randy M. Dumse wrote:

No, you are ignoring 99%: The benefits of deploying the technology. Nearly two thousand Americans have died in Iraq over the last two years. About half of those from IEDs, mostly roadside bombs. That is a rate of about 500 dead per year that could be saved by deployment of automated vehicles. That is $25 million/year just for the SGLI payments. Each of those dead soldiers is the loss of a million dollars or more in lifetime earnings that they would contribute to the economy. This is just looking at the dead, without considering the seriously wounded that outnumber them ten to one. Lots of amputated limbs, etc. What is the economic cost of that?
The $2 million in prize money was worth it if it speeds up deployment of self-driving vehicles by ONE DAY. I think it is a real shame that there is not a lot more resources devoted to this problem. If the sons of senators were driving the trucks in Iraq, I think there would be a lot more urgency. Of course, if more sons of senators were in the military maybe they would have taken a harder look at the "slam dunk" intelligence, and we wouldn't have gotten into this war in the first place.
But the military applications are only part of the benefit. Much of this technology can be applied to civilian on-road driving as well. Approximately 40,000 Americans die every year in traffic accidents, and most of those are caused by human error. Even technology to make vehicles semi-autonomous, like adaptive cruise control and lane control assistance, can save many lives, as well as allowing existing roads to carry more traffic. The money saved here will eventually dwarf the military savings.

Maybe. But highly unlikely. You would be surprised at the drivel that passes for "research" in many academic facilities. For example, I have a copy of "ASME Transactions on Mechatronics" right here. It is an academic peer reviewed journal, published by a prestigious institution. You would think that this leading edge research about a field so intimately tied to robotics would be frequently mentioned in comp.misc.robotics. But you would be wrong. I just did a Google search, and it has NEVER been cited in this newsgroup. Maybe because the articles are filled with jargon and obfuscation so impenetrable it would make a career Pentagon bureaucrat blush. I can't remember ever learning anything of practical use from it. The artery clearing nano-bots are nowhere to be seen.

Can you provide some references?
-bob
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Everyone will have their priorities, when it comes to economics, and what they see as important. I'm no different. I'd rather see a robot that could navigate arteries, than one that kicks up dust in the dessert.
Two weeks ago I had a stroke.
I couldn't sign my own name when I was admitted to the hospital. In a few days I was almost fully recovered. Good drugs. I also had a catscan and two rides on the MRI. I remember on of me college physics professors was doing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 30 years ago. Didn't look like much then. Amazing!
They also looked in my arteries with sonograms. One sonogram, done bed side, I actually saw the inside of my heart from many different views, and watched the valves flipping in clear detail. I had no appreciation for what an athelete my heart is, until I saw it in action. Amazing!
My roommate (great guy, enjoyed him), a 72 year old man that hadn't seen a doctor since before I was born, had, unknown, a bleeding ulcer. He'd lost so much of his blood through his stomach he'd passed out on the floor getting ready for bed. They went in through his nose, they call it robotic surgery, as I understand it. They pushed back the artery, and seared the stomach wall together over the top of it. They went back in a few days later, and checked the work. I saw the _pictures_ they took while in there. Pictures from inside his stomach. Before and After. Amazing!
We both came in on a Monday evening. We both went home on Thursday. Neither of us were touched by a knife.
All the wonderful equipment used on us was a product of research.

Only reports from personal conversations.
I was a guest at University of Northern Iowa, and a number of professors from the Industiral and the Physic department had lunch with me, and mems was all the rage of discussion. They were discussing the grant money for such things as artery clearning robots. They wanted to know if industry we hoping on MEMs. I had little I could offer.
Dr. Raul Fernandez UTA working at ARRI (Automation and Robotics Research Institute) and collegues were looking at MEMs applications for surgery inside the body several years ago. It's probably been two years since I've seen him.
I've heard ARRI has a new director, come down from RIT, and his stated goal and vision for the institute is MEMs, particularly for medical applications.
I remember a similar interest stated by UTB department heads when I was in Brownsville last year.
OTOH, google turns up 12800 hits.
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLC,GGLC:1969-53,GGLC:en&q=artery+clearing+robots
I am not saying the artery clearning robots exist, I am saying current research is trying to figure out how it can approach such possibilites. Whether I continue to have a productive research effort in robotics controls may well depend on the research done on artery clearing robots. While it may be of no particular concern to you, it's not exactly just an "academic question" to me.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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Sorry, another correction. I followed up with another professor concerning Raul. His work was mostly for small incisions in the abdomen, and the new director, while is strongly interested in MEMs is not pushing medical. His vision is a shoebox factory as I hear it described.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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I now see your point with a new clarity. I hope your stroke wasn't very bad. I've heard of some promising new research where arterial plaque is eliminated over time by injecting HDL cholesterol directly in the blood stream. I hope this approach pans out before my cholesterol goes any higher. I'm eating oatmeal every morning, and I'm only 35. It is amazing what research( in many areas) has contributed to the field of medicine. The conventional approach to constructing nano-bots as if they were just small machines with metal, gears, motors, and a power source, I believe is the wrong approach. Nature should be our template. Biologists have discovered the individual structures of many biological machines within cells, and microscopic organisms. They know what makes up the motor in a flagellum. I think we should be working on creating biological machines(non-replicating) which could take their energy from their environment. Viruses are just chemical machines which take advantage of a cells energy and mechanisms to replicate itself. They are in no way alive, and can be completely modelled. We know how they do what they do, the end result being very harmful. Why can't we take advantage of what we understand to create variants which will do those things we are wanting nano-bots to do? Do I sound like a mad scientist?
Brent S.
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Great. Thanks. Are you sure though? because my point isn't about my medical condition, it's about moral and wise behavior.

Thanks, but it was. Scary. The good news is my remarkable recovery, through, I have no doubt, recent improvements in medical treatment.

Only 52 here. Just over 2 weeks ago, I couldn't care less about strokes, I was only worried about my heart, which has been threatening. Only knew a few people who ever had one. It had been suggested as a potential problem for me, but it seemed very remote, beyond spots of vision I'm loosing.
What a difference a day can make.
Of course my point here, is: everyone has different economic interests. What we need to be sure of, is the guys with the guns, and now most of our money through taxation, don't take over deciding what research will and will not be allowed, just by giving away prizes, with caprice.

I quite agree. Nature may not have the best solution we can engineer, but at least it has some excellent examples we can start from. Until we can exceed nature, we'd better be humble enough to respect what she teaches.

No, not at all.
I'm sure I sound like a mad political scientist, or such. Obviously my position is often misunderstood. Different people study different fields, and like my interest in stroke recovery, different events will change their interest and perspectives. I happen to have an interest in social systems as well as electro-mechanical ones.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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"Randy M. Dumse" wrote (with deletions):

Randy,
It is good to hear that you recovered so well. I'm sure we all wish you the best.
There are a lot of technology spin-offs from various efforts (military, space, etc.) that result in good things for all of us for sure. One could argue that the results would be better if the money was applied to the these efforts directly but in the real world, that's not going to always happen; but the spin-offs occur nevertheless.
Again, best wishes,
-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -- Jerry Petrey, - GNC Software Engineer, Raytheon Missile Systems -- -- NOTE: please perform appendectomy on email address before replying ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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... snip ...

I think here's perfect use, the US Mexico border OR infact any country with a border that can't be maintained safely by people. How about Afganistan Pakistan, Isreal Palestine. How about search and rescue for lost folks in forests, fire fighting. How about wandering around in the north and south pole? I can see in the future, a special traffic lane for driver less truck hauling goods (supermarket foods, etc) at all hours of the day all year long, with not stopping. Every time I go to Los Angeles there's a stupid truck accident locking up traffic on the highways, because some jerk off decided to cut off a semi truck. Just think, there will be no more truck driver road rage. If you got a 100's or acre cattle ranch, send out the round up truck to round up the cows, bison , anything.
There's plenty of uses for this technology.
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On Wed, Oct 12, 2005 at 11:26:18AM -0500, Randy M. Dumse wrote:

Geez, Randy - I wish you best and hope your recovery is speedy and complete, which it sounds like you are well on your way. It is a testament to your tenacity that you are this far along so soon.
I now understand some of your statements in this new light. You should have prefaced your arguments with this news so that we knew better where you were coming from.
All the best to you ... get well soon so we can continue discussions on robots, controllers, sensors, AI, the meaning of life :-)
-Brian
--
Brian Dean
ATmega128 based MAVRIC controllers
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At our skewl (USQ Qld, Aus) we are spending R&D on autonomous agricultural machines
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fulliautomatix wrote:

Sounds like a kewl skewl! Is there a project website, or any pictures of the equipment?
-bob
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Correction, I over stated the amount. I re-read my source, a customer of ours and competitor in the competition, who holds a very different view of than mine, and he said, "It was very important for a major research university to win, that is why CMU and Stanford spent more than 10 million collectively. If they didn't win, why fund them in the future. The 18 month head start didn't hurt them either.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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One of Walter Williams favorite stories. I've read it a number of times, and I understand your point.

I can't believe that the professors/researchers involved didn't weigh the cost vs. the benefit of several projects. I'm sure that their decision was based partly on the increased visibility of this event. One of my main points was that this visibility is worth something. The exposure will only bring more research opportunities to these Universities.

I don't think all of the spin off projects will involve chasing vehicles through the desert. It may even mean, indirectly, that more funding will be available for an artery cleaning robot due to the increased interest in robotics following such a successful and visible project. The possibilities in this case are as hard to pin down as the rules of economics. The one thing we do know about both though, is more activity is better.

I think the money eventually came back to the baker, and he then bought a new suit, because he still needed it.

The $2M prize couldn't have been their primary motive then. They each wanted to be the recognized experts in the field so that they could attract more funding, get more research opportunities, and develop even greater technologies.

They'll get around to it. It is impossible to determine whether they missed the next breakthrough opportunity, or just created it. I suspect you weren't impressed with autonomous navigation, and really wish they would have just done something else that didn't involve SUVs, or so much existing technology.
Brent S.
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I just want to remember that before this DARPA race, the Army had been try to build the same robot car for the past 6 years ? and all their car did was move 6" and stop. It didn't anything else. You think 2 million is alot? think about what the Army invested their robot car, a whole lot more that 2 million.
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On Wed, Oct 12, 2005 at 12:08:00AM -0500, Randy M. Dumse wrote:

I would really have expected more from you, Randy. The money people and organizations spent was their money, their choice. Do you really think you are in any position to tell people how they should spend their money?
I spoke to a Marine Colonel at the event who said the Army has spent about .5 billion on similar projects and he told me that their vehicles couldn't even complete the 3 mile NQE course. The fact that over 1/2 of the 43 semi-finalist teams were able to complete the NQE course, budgets large and small, shows that solving this problem is not just about money - its about the approach. So yes, I think this was a good move for DARPA. They probably got a billion dollars of research and technology for about $10 or $15 million. That's a big savings for you since your (an my) taxes support DARPA. DARPA did not force any team to join up. It was all voluntary so I don't see where you can make the argument that money was taken away from something else to fund it.
The team I am with, Insight Racing, placed 12th overall after completing nearly 28 miles. We were on a very small budget, most of it from our own personal money so we scrutinized _every_ purchase with a magnifying glass. Our vehicle, all sensors, controllers, actuators, h-bridges, computers, etc, come in at a small fraction of what most other teams spent.
http://www.bdmicro.com/darpa-gc
http://www.insightracing.org /
<sidenote>
DARPA really liked our articulated bumper, BTW, which helped to get us out of more than one tight spot. On two seperate incidents on the NQE course, we nudged up against one of the gates (traffic cones), actuated the bumper, shifted to reverse, backed up a few meters, re-oriented, and steered correctly in between the two cones. Had we run over the cone or gone outside, we would not have been given credit for passing through the gate. The DARPA director who was watching along side our three launch crew members was heard to say "That is so cool!". We also used it to good effect in one case where we nicked a parked minivan obstacle in the course. Instead of being stopped, the bumper actuated, we backed up, reoriented, and drove around the van clearing the obstacle. We were charged with hitting the obstacle, but instead of being hung up on it, which would have happend to most of the other robots, we were able to detect the impact, backup and complete the coarse while retaining a good score.
</sidenote>

It's their money, and their choice. If you really feel strongly about this, I would expect you to take _all_ profits from your company New Micros, Inc. and sink into that research. But you don't have any say in how other people spend their money.

Wow ... I would certainly expect someone in the field to have an appreciation of the difficulty of this problem. Maybe you really are an armchair general. I didn't think so previously, but the above statement is truly ignorent of the challenges faced by teams and totally minimizes the problems that had to be overcome just to get to the starting line.
And the "no other immediate use" statement - are you totally against research? How many life saving drugs have started out from compounds that "have no other immediate use"? How many technologies that are commonplace today have started out from technical curiousities that "have no other immediate use"? Your statements are extremely short sighted.

You are free to spend your money how you see fit. Other organizations and people are not accountable to you for their expenditures.
-Brian
--
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Sigh! Well, imagine how I feel, then.
Not only misunderstood, my position misstated, but you with a condescending tone.

No, I'm not against private individuals, not against freedom, that never been my position.
What I do think I am in a position to do, as citizen (and particularly as someone who was commissioned by an act of the US Congress to defend the constitution) is voice dissent when agents in the government act illegal and unconstitutional, in violation of the 14th Amendment, _and_ which has far reaching negative consequences for our industry.
Offering prize money from tax revenue is at the very least questionable, and at most unconscionable. Then choosing who can and cannot compete by less than elimination by competition, is a violation of law 14th equal protection).
I have been opposed to the Grand Challenge since they excluded teams, not on performance, but on their arbitrary desires of who they wanted to have compete. I am also opposed to the attempt to manipulate the industry, but that is a lesser issue, fruit of the same tree.
Here's a moral question for you, Brian, if the Grand Challenge had eliminated all teams with Asian and African descendants before the real contest, (no less a violation under the 14th, just easier to see and understand as being such) would you have still participated? Or would you have seen it as your civic duty to abstain/withdraw?
We have both already answered that question with our respective actions. I would really have hoped for more from you, Brian. I would have hoped more from all the contestants, each offended by individuals hijacking good government for their own ends. I would have hoped we'd have all protested, and helped defend the constitution from this assault and violation. But not everyone can reason through the problem, nor has the background or studies to know consequences. Each man follows the path that is clear to him, given his understanding, personal level of development and conscience.
--
Randy M. Dumse

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Randy M. Dumse wrote: --Snip--

Hi Randy, I have not heard of this exclusion. Is there anywhere that I can read more about it?
Thanks, Bob
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