Sandstorm robot makes unprecedented 200-mile autonomous run

Jul 12, 2005
Beaver Run

Carnegie Mellon University's autonomous robotic HUMMER Sandstorm drove an unprecedented 200 miles in seven hours without human guidance last week in preparation for the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, a 175-mile driverless desert race with a $2 million winner-take-all prize.

Sandstorm uses sensors to "see" and computers to "drive." It drove 131 laps on the 1.5-mile racecourse at the BeaveRun MotorSports Complex near Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 4. The drive was an endurance evaluation for the robot's computers, sensors and mechanical systems. The machine averaged 28 miles per hour and hit a top speed of 36 miles per hour to complete its 7-hour, 200-mile marathon.

"That doesn't sound like a big deal for a human-driven car, but it is a very big deal for the pioneering of computer-driven vehicles," said Red Team leader, Robotics Professor William L. "Red" Whittaker. "That distance, speed and duration are unprecedented for a completely autonomous machine. However, this machine and 19 others will face far more difficult conditions in the October 8 race across the Mojave Desert.

"We are a desert racing team without a desert, so we test on local sites like the BeaveRun race track," Whittaker said. "Sandstorm ran a quick pace on this track, but the Mojave will not be so easy or forgiving. On July 4, we learned that our hardware and software are reliable, and that is important. To finish first, you must first finish."

Sandstorm and its sister machine, the HUMMER H1ighlander are among the 40 vehicles that will compete in the Grand Challenge semifinals Sept. 26-Oct. 6 at the California Speedway at Fontana. That field of 40 will be culled to the 20 finalists that make the run for $2-million on Oct. 8.

For more information on the Red Team and its racing robots, see www.redteamracing.org

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

Explore further: Cubans look to US detente for better Web access

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Standalone wireless info display device an easy fit

5 hours ago

A Latvian team has come up with a good-looking WiFi display device, connecting to the Internet using WiFi, which runs on a high-capacity built-in battery and tracks what's important to you. This is a standalone ...

Technology improves avalanche gear for backcountry skiers

6 hours ago

As outdoor recreation companies increasingly cater to skiers and snowboarders who like to venture beyond the groomed slopes at ski resorts and tackle backcountry terrain, they've put a special emphasis on gear and equipment ...

The elephant poaching business in numbers

6 hours ago

From the pittance paid to local poachers to a multi-billion dollar industry, here are some of the key numbers related to Africa's endangered elephants:

UN moves toward major treaty for ocean biodiversity

7 hours ago

UN member states agreed Saturday to begin negotiations on a treaty to protect marine biodiversity in ocean areas extending beyond territorial waters, in a move heralded by environmental organizations.

Recommended for you

Microsoft profit dips as revenue rises (Update)

10 hours ago

Microsoft on Monday reported that its quarterly profit dipped but revenue increased in a sign that it is adapting to lifestyles centered on mobile devices and cloud services.

IBM "flatly denies" report of mass layoffs

15 hours ago

Calling it "ridiculous" and "baseless," IBM on Monday dismissed a report that said the technology giant plans to lay off 1 in 4 of its workers, or 100,000 people.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.