Wow, Robot Car Competitions

The organizer of an upcoming “Robotic Grand Prix in Long Beach, California, withdrew its title event after representatives of Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University robotics teams have challenged the way the event has been brought to market. Monday, the Toyota Grand Prix issued a press release that says autonomous cars Stanford, CMU, and Lehigh University – finishers of last year’s DARPA Grand Challenge Urban – would race against each other once more later this month.

Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, said in an interview Tuesday that the group will now probably call this event a “robot challenge” to reflect the fact that all three race cars will not . On the contrary, they will demonstrate their technology through a turn on the runway of Long Beach on April 20. The tower will not be judged, “he says.

“We are the guys racing here. But “race” was an exaggeration. It really is a ‘challenge’ – and an opportunity to showcase this technology to a broad audience of 170000 people, “said Michaelian.

Yet the misrepresentation highlights the possibility of a future race robotics among them. When asked whether the group would host a Grand Prix of robotics (a race), Michaelian, said: “This is the first step and we will see where it goes from here.”

A rematch would probably be a great event, considering the rivalry between the two main contenders – CMU and Stanford – and the stakes of the latest robotics competitions. Last year, the CMU “Boss”, an autonomous body Chevy Tahoe, won $ 2 million Urban Grand Challenge, the excess of 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge winner, Stanford. Stanford’s “Junior”, a robot Volkswagen Passat, took $ 1 million in the second place in the contest of last year, which tested how autonomous vehicles could lead among other cars while obeying traffic laws.

During the City Challenge, the cars maintained a controlled speed, but they were judged by the speed with which they finished the course and stuck to the rules of the road. The involvement of a race at the Grand Prix of Toyota is that the robotic vehicles will be measured by the speed at which they could complete a tour of the runway.

Sebastian Thrun, leader of the race team at Stanford, said that any race would be premature because the technology is simply not there yet. “We did not intend to turn this into a race. The goal is not to go faster than 30 mph and the race cars go faster than 150 mph. Technology is clearly not ready for those speeds. “

During the demonstration, on April 20, the robot cars – Boss, Junior, and “Ben” – maintain a speed of about 30 mph. Ben is a self-drive Toyota Prius at the University of Pennsylvania and Lehigh University.

Chris Urmson, director of technology for CMU’s Tartan Racing, said his understanding of the event was that it would be a parade around to show technology. And even if this is not a race, he said he hoped that there will be more opportunities for competition in the future.

“A race has many implications of someone winning and losing,” Urmson said. “We want to show the technology, but we are not trying to compete with these people at this point.”


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