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Carnegie Mellon Wins Urban Challenge

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the go-nerd-racers-gooo dept.

Robotics 153

ThinkingInBinary writes "The results from the Urban Challenge are in! Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing team came in first (earning a $2 million prize), followed by Stanford's Stanford Racing team in second (earning $1 mil) and Virginia Tech's Victor Tango in third (earning $500k). Cornell's Team Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and Lehigh University's Ben Franklin Racing Team, and MIT, also finished the race in that order."

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Congratulations! (2, Insightful)

S.Cohen (1129095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236801)

Congrats to the winners and all the other contestants!

obligatory (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236847)

2nd is the best

Re:Congratulations! (0)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237249)

ironic that the first post is modded redundant

Re:Congratulations! (1, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237419)

If "ironic" = "moderator is an inbred moron", then I agree.

Re:Congratulations! (-1, Offtopic)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238199)

And why is this flamebait? Is it because another moderator doesn't realize that he is an inbred moron, too, and that first posts can't possibly be redundant and that congrats are nice things that should not be forgone in the age of inbred moronic moderators?

Re:Congratulations! (-1, Troll)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238005)

Get back to work nigger

For those who love to RTFA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236831)

a nice link to Wired blog entries (from the darpa site) http://blog.wired.com/defense/urban_challenge/index.html [wired.com]

But... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236849)

Was the tartan team wearing kilts?

Oh, and does it run on Volkswagon?

Re:But... (2, Funny)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236893)

And will it blend?

Urban (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236861)

I, for one, welcome our urban robotic overlords.

woohoo! (1)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236881)

I was really bummed when I learned Stanford beat us by a few minutes, but apparently the scoring worked out in our favor. I got to sit in on several of the Tartan Racing meetings, and the technology they came up with was fascinating.

Congrats to the teams! (1)

Mia'cova (691309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236885)

Congrats to all the winners! Tons of hard work I'm sure and some impressive results! I'm going to enjoy reading all the postmortems and such. This research really interests me. I love all the creative use of algorithms and technology. Again, congrats and well done!

Any opensource out of this ? (2, Insightful)

noddyxoi (1001532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236891)

So these guys get some millions from public funding and does the public get any opensource out of it ?

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (2, Interesting)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236935)

I doubt that any of these teams will have turned a profit on this competition - do you have any idea how much it costs to field an entry, including staff, equipment, materials, entry fees etc?

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (4, Funny)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237051)

I doubt that any of these teams will have turned a profit on this competition

Did you miss the red bull,GM, google, caterpillar, VW, Bosch, paint job?

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237345)

Did you miss all the expensive equipment mounted on the car? Have you ever entered an engineering competition? Almost all teams take commercial sponsors, annd rarely do teams make a profit - after all, you only solicit as many sponsors as it takes to get the project built.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237605)

Grad students have always been an inexpensive source of labor.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237703)

Wow, you really have no understanding of (a) typical research costs and (b) how some of these teams actually operate.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (3, Insightful)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237369)

I doubt that any of these teams will have turned a profit on this competition

But I'm sure they'll have turned out a good number of masters, phds and scientific papers.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238647)

I think the money is in selling what you made.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (4, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236979)

All three teams took development money from DARPA. As such, DARPA gets a copy of all software and development notes that the teams produced.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237099)

As such, DARPA gets a copy of all software and development notes that the teams produced.

This information is useless without having the expertise of the people involved. The major goal of DARPA is to promote development of these technologies (to the point where they can be used in military applications), which they do by financing a number of teams.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237123)

An open source car that drives itself?

Is that really safe? I mean this test was under very strict restrictions. They cleared the entire course.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (2, Informative)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238481)

It was this team that has opensourced the software: http://www.ubcthunderbird.com/ [ubcthunderbird.com] code found here (sf.net). [sourceforge.net] Unfortunately they didn't make it through to the finals...

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237357)

if it was open source, the car would first ask you to load kld_brake_for_kids. After struggling with that for a few days you'd get on the road only to find you crash into a tree because the cars hardware isn't compatible, and some guy on /. would tell you it's ok because you have the source and can write your own do not crash into tree's module.

Re:Any opensource out of this ? (5, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237439)

No, no open source code. But what the public does get out of this is advances in technology. Case in point: the *real* winners of this year's Urban Challenge are Velodyne [velodyne.com] . Their lidar sensor was invented by team DAD for the 2005 challenge. For the 2007 challenge, they decided that instead of losing the competition again, they would sell their lidar technology to the other teams. Over half of the 35 teams in the challenge bought one, and 5 of the 6 finishers (Virginia Tech being the exception).

This thing is a huge advance over previous technology for this application, and it directly owes its existence to this challenge. Thanks to DARPA, you can now buy a lidar that you can stick on top of a car and which gives you 360 degree range data in 3D at 10 Hz over Ethernet. Now that the company is jump-started, next year those specs will improve, costs will go down, and eventually something like this will be driving your car for you. That's the benefit everyone gets from this competition. Not to mention all the people whose imaginations have been captured by the competition; who have been working on the funding DARPA gave out, getting their PhDs, or even just working in their spare time, learning how to write the software to run these things. There's no doubt in my mind that DARPA has gotten far more mileage from their money in this contest than they would have dumping it in the accounts of some defense contractor.

So even though no open source was produced from the contest, the public will see a lot of benefit from the money DARPA has spent.

MIT? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236911)

MIT, MIT...

Oh yeah, isn't that kind of like Massachusetts' version of CMU?

MOD PARENT UP (1)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238125)

Not that I'm biased or anything ;)

that's great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236913)

faggots should be thrown in ovens just like they were in germany.

The importance of this race cannot be overstated (4, Insightful)

IanDanforth (753892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236953)

While the immediate winners of the race are the three teams holding checks, as well as the military which gets to pick from a field of highly successful new technology, the real beneficiaries will be the drivers of the world. I believe the importance of this hasn't quite filtered into most people's minds.

Many people know that more than 40,000 people die each year in motor vehicle accidents, however when it comes to people I feel this number is insufficient. "More than 40,000 people" have been dying each year now for more than a decade, and that's only in the US. Since I was 17 more than four hundred thousand people have died participating in an activity that machines can now do flawlessly (if very slowly). This blows my mind.

Worldwide, 1.2 million people die on the roads every year and the repercussions of these deaths on families and friends can be unusually devastating due to their sudden, unexpected nature.

The performance of these three teams is akin to three major pharmaceuticals all announcing they have come up with a cure for one of the major cancers. That, surely, would have been worldwide front-page news.

Now, of course, the real debate begins. How much more will consumers be willing to pay for safe vehicles, and what limitations on speed will they accept? Rolling out this technology (if you'll excuse the play on words) will require changes in infrastructure, law, and cultural mentality. Especially here in the states. If it means saving this many lives, will you pay twice as much and drive at half speed, at least for a little while?

Insufficient deaths (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236977)

Many people know that more than 40,000 people die each year in motor vehicle accidents, however when it comes to people I feel this number is insufficient.
I feel that way myself sometimes.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Insightful)

seanthenerd (678349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237009)

Now, of course, the real debate begins. How much more will consumers be willing to pay for safe vehicles, and what limitations on speed will they accept? Rolling out this technology (if you'll excuse the play on words) will require changes in infrastructure, law, and cultural mentality. Especially here in the states. If it means saving this many lives, will you pay twice as much and drive at half speed, at least for a little while?
Even more so, how much would people be willing to not drive at all?

It's kind of interesting how much effort has gone in to building a robot that can drive in (error-prone) human traffic. If, on the other hand, *every* car was automated, it would be so much easier to implement. (Controls built into the road, maybe, and of course less need to handle wildly out-of-control cars; plus benefits like optimized freeways (anyone remember "Blue Thunder"'s freeway?) and intelligent intersections that talk to incoming cars, etc.) I think the eventual progression is to automated and efficient public transportation, where no one owns their own car, nor needs to. Did anybody consider, back in the day, if one car per person/family was actually a good idea?

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Interesting)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237087)

If, on the other hand, *every* car was automated, it would be so much easier to implement.
also, if every car was automated and the controls were built into the road, there would be a massive single point of failure.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237091)

Why do so many geeks appear to be more at home in soviet russia than in the free world?

What gives you the right to decide who can and can't have a car?

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Informative)

fain0v (257098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237131)

Driving is a privilage, not a right.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (2, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237377)

Most freedoms are privileges (from a pure survival standpoint I mean), yet we've made them rights because we feel they make for a better society overall. Be VERY careful whenever you want to clamp down on something we've had choice in for quite a long time.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (2, Insightful)

pinkocommie (696223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237137)

I don't think its about that per se. It's about finding and implementing the most efficient transportation mechanism. If you could develop a fully automated system, you wouldn't need to own cars since they could be available on demand. How many hours are cars driven vs garaged, one could reduce the total number of automobiles by a factor of 5 if not more.
I remember seeing an article on here a while ago about mass transit that went to each neighborhood but instead of trains were 4 passenger vehicles that were fully automated.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237243)

People like owning cars (and other things). There's a reason. It's related to this 'freedom' concept that I'm so big on. In fact, there's a whole school of thought that suggests that freedom is not possible without property. Somehow, this is counter-intuitive to some.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237295)

I thought true freedom came only when you had nothing to tie you down?

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237425)

In fact, there's a whole school of thought that suggests that freedom is not possible without property. Somehow, this is counter-intuitive to some.
I think freedom is good, and property is good. However, the two are not synonymous, in fact they're in opposition! Ownership is the legal right to restrict the actions of others (namely the freedom to walk off with things). Again, not that ownership is a bad idea, I just think it's funny how people who think they hate government actually love certain legal contrivances, such as ownership, and call anything they like "freedom" even when referring to restrictive laws which they support.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238059)

Ownership is the legal right to restrict the actions of others (namely the freedom to walk off with things).

Freedom != Anarchy

Property is an absolute necessity, second only to life. If I can't stop someone from taking the clothes off my back, and food from my mouth, I'm seriously restricted in my own freedom.

The same goes for your own life. You aren't free if anyone can just kill you, yet others aren't 'free' if they are prevented from killing you.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238671)

Then where does anarchy stop and freedom begin? When it comes to people moving tons of metal at dangerous speeds while only caring about how fast they can get somewhere?

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237627)

Or you could, you know, decide for yourself if you want to share cars like this. I happen to not care what car I'm driving as long as it moves, and if I could get a car that drives itself cheaper than paying for a car, I think I could handle not actually owning one. (not to mention that I prefer to walk, so having a car isn't very useful for me most of the time)

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (4, Insightful)

Novae D'Arx (1104915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237343)

Oh, let's see - maybe the fact that I have to share the roads with dangerous drivers?

We limit the rights of some to protect the rights of all - if you are an unsafe driver, I will happily limit your right to drive if it increases the rights of the majority to drive safely.

That, my snide friend, is what gives me the right - the same right that pretty much all of the laws of the US are based on. Also the same reason you have to take a driving test and maintain a driver's license. Yes, that's right, a license to drive. Pretty "Soviet", eh? In your view, is it only American if we just let everyone jump behind the wheel, even the blind and insane, because "America, Fuck Yeah!"?

I'm sorry, but think before you post. It enriches us all.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237403)

What gives you the right to decide who can and can't have a car?
I don't know who you're responding to, since nobody suggested forcibly taking away cars. But I do find it very interesting how people respond to deaths from various sources. 40K per year is a pretty staggering number. Terrorism, for instance, is insignificant in comparison. Even the number of Americans killed in World War II is only 1 decade of auto deaths!

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238227)

Even the number of Americans killed in World War II is only 1 decade of auto deaths!

Well yeah, we did wait until you guys got tired to join in.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237433)

You can't drive subway cars either.

OSC wrote a great article on this (1)

Verity_Crux (523278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237409)

Orson Scott Card recently wrote a great article [ornery.org] on the whole "world without cars" thing. I really like his ideas about when you do and don't need a car.

Having worked in the business (and competition) of automating vehicles for some time now, here's a list of our biggest challenges:
1. You can coordinate 100 vehicles with a serious piece of hardware. Coordinating 10000 would be unthinkable with current algorithms and hardware.
2. You can make a car stay on the road, but you can't make a road engineer get the map data right, current, repaired, expanded, with sidewalk curbs, or (especially) published.
3. You can detect small children in the road but you can't detect pot holes the size of a small child.
4. The clothoid math is killer for people and computers.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (2, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237811)

Firstly, a car you can't ever drive would never sell in the US. People want control, they want the ability to drive off-road even if they never actually do (see SUVs), and they love their older cars too much to stop driving them. Secondly, even if every car was automated, that would only take care of a *few* of the problems faced by automated vehicles. They would still have to deal with all of the problems that are caused by things other than unpredictable drivers, such as: wind, rain, snow, ice, fog, loss of GPS, worn or obscured road markings, people walking in the road, things that fall from trucks on the freeway, tires that blow out, malfunctioning traffic signals, downed power lines, mechanical failures of all kinds, collapsed bridges, avalanches, sinkholes, people trying to trick the robot sensors, and all the other problems I didn't happen to think of just now. If you really want your robotic car to be 100% safe, you have to program it to handle so many varied situations that I believe programming it with traffic rules for safe driving around humans would be a relatively small part of your work.

Now it's true that you could drive more efficiently without humans, but that will have to be phased in gradually. For example, you could have special robot lanes, and perhaps eventually entire robot-only streets in big cities. But that would only be possible *after* the introduction of autonomous vehicles.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238707)

Have you seen the challenge? "partially worn or obscured road markings"? They had dirt tracks marked only by two piles of dirt on the sides and only two out of 11 cars had trouble with them (namely Carolo and MIT's car, while Carolo hit those dirt piles MIT just slowed to a crawl), the rest drove like it was a regular road. I bet in the following years DARPA will include simulations of desaster conditions and I bet some cars will still make it.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237013)

Especially here in the states. If it means saving this many lives, will you pay twice as much and drive at half speed, at least for a little while?

Ha! In the USA? People here are usually glad to pay ridiculous prices for things that are otherwise free or far less costly (I'm thinking bottled water and cars that aren't gas guzzlers). But that is a stretch even for Americans. And lets face it, saving lives generally doesn't make it to the top of most people's lists of Important Things.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

Var1abl3 (1021413) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237147)

It is already starting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkEu-PdVlK0 [youtube.com] for a video of the new Lexus self park. The market will determine what people are willing to pay. If I would have asked you 20 years ago if you wanted an automatic door lock/unlock, location, directions and other GPS related services, phone, crash detection and emergency contact after airbag deployment, and much more via a satellite connection in your car. You would have said it would cost a fortune.... now it is $16USA a month. The nature of the progress of technology it this field and others will shape the world for generations to come. Now where is my hover-car and house cleaning robot?

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237185)

The real question is, where is the $2000 car? While it's great that all these amenities are being added to cars, some of us don't really care about all these extra features, and just want a cheap car that gets them from point A to point B. Even the cheaper cars seem to come with a lot of extras that aren't really needed. While I realize there are a lot of costs such as materials, labor, and design that go into designing cars, I wish that some company would just try to make a car that was really cheap.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (2, Informative)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237367)

Here [businessweek.com] .

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238093)

How about a Kia Rio [kia.com] for $11.5K? They actually include "Body-color Exterior Door Handles" in the list of amenities, so I don't think it could be stripped down much more. It's still more than $2k, but even a raw ton of steel plate [steelonthenet.com] costs $800, so I don't think a $2000 car will happen. You can't blame it all on features, engines and transmissions do cost money too.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238711)

I'm sure it's possible to build something that can move and carry passengers for 2k$ but I doubt it'd go very fast or have many survivors after an accident.

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238293)

new Lexus self park
Obviously you don't watch Top Gear. It's rubbish. It doesn't work in The Real World (c)(tm).

Re:The importance of this race cannot be overstate (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237995)

Since I was 17 more than four hundred thousand people have died participating in an activity that machines can now do flawlessly (if very slowly). This blows my mind.

You're exaggerating, in the extreme.

I'm willing to bet every (human) driver in this country would have succeeded with flying colors on this course as well. In fact the odds of a driver getting killed in an accident any specific day are extremely slim, and they'd be much smaller still, if you restrict that to low-speed driving, during the day, etc., etc.

The skill of these robotic drivers can only be determined with any reasonable accuracy after they have driven many MILLIONS of miles. Only then can you say they are, on average, safer than human drivers. And even then, it would still be insanely ridiculous to claim they drive flawlessly.

More important: Slow autonomous vehicles, green! (1)

beachdog (690633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238377)

Autonomous vehicle tech is needed for ultra low carbon emission vehicles. Slow vehicles need autonomous abilities because simple labor cost economics require it.
---
This is another take on why the DARPA autonomous vehicle development is important.

It is relatively easy and feasible to build a 2 to 10 mile per hour freight vehicle that is "green" or ultra low carbon emissions, (compared to building a vehicle with 50 to 65 miles per hour speed ability).

But when the average speed of a vehicle drops below 35 miles per hour, then the labor cost of the driver operating the vehicle exceeds the non-labor operating cost of the vehicle.

I can envision existing trucks refitted with a 1500 watt solar roof (that's only 1.5 horsepower now), with some batteries, maybe electric braking and boost technology, with the existing engine and tranny left in place, about 100 watts of computer power. It could haul a load maybe at 1 to 10 miles per hour with maybe 1/5th or 1/3 the carbon emissions. There is no money to pay a driver to sit around and play cards in the cab while this puppy ambles down interstate 5.

Autonomous vehicle technology also could serve for "meals on wheels" and grocery delivery and rural mail delivery solutions. This entire class of solutions is dominated by labor costs that easily exceed the delivery vehicle operating costs.

Remember the Erie Canal? That was a slow and low energy transportation solution, autonomous vehicles can change the equilibrium and allow some of those solutions to start up again.

Open source ...if only. (5, Insightful)

seanthenerd (678349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236963)

How far this technology has come in just a few years is (ridiculously) amazing. Major kudos to everyone who's brought this so far!

I only wish that one of the conditions of winning was to release the software that powered your car - can you imagine how much farther things would have come if everyone could build on the previous years' winners? So much brilliant coding has gone into this, but so much of it is just reinventing the wheel. (...Ouch.) But in all honesty, the state of the art would progress gigantically if one of the winners would GPL their car-driving software.

Re:Open source ...if only. (4, Interesting)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237111)

The most important thing is that the algorithms are written up and published in peer-reviewed journals. That understanding is more important than the code itself. My RoboCup robootic soccer team published all of its source code one year, and not much came of it; Some people used it but they didn't really understand it. It's also hard to take the code and make it work with a different robot, as all the customized hardware on the robot means a lot of porting, and uncovering bugs and design limitations. Also, competition code often has its design stretched to the limit by the time the competition arrives, and if you redid it you might design it differently to make it cleaner. So, our papers have probably helped many more people than our code ever did. I did release a library along with some papers explaining it, and that worked well. But that's just a small part of the overall codebase.

Of course, it would be nice to see the code out there, but the science is more important than the implementation. However, if we were talking about an off-the-shelf robot such as a roomba or aibo, the situation is quite different.

Re:Open source ...if only. (2, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237355)

Actually, this is a good example of something that would not be helped by the open source development model. How many hobbyists do you think have a multi-million dollar vehicle outfitted with all the necessary sensors and computers? And of those, how many do you think have a large testing area? And of those, how many have a team of people to prep the car and testing area for each test run?

Most of the teams in the UC spent more on their car than was offered in prize money. They still profit because a lot of that spending was subsidized by corporations (note the logos all over the cars). Nonetheless, the money has to come from somewhere. Without the car, sensors, and testing area, an open source contributor could only look for the most obvious bugs.

Now, what they should release are their algorithms and design methods. But making the actual source code development open source would not help the state of the art progress "gigantically." Remember also that these machines are often purpose built using some amount of custom hardware. What works with one setup and for one car type will not necessarily work for another. It's like saying Open Darwin helps Microsoft. It could, in theory, help a few things, but most are so inherently incompatible that it's more trouble than it's worth.

Re:Open source ...if only. (1)

leonbev (111395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237451)

One would hope that next year's challenge would include a stricter parts budget, in order to make this technology economically viable. If someone was able build a working prototype for... say... $50,000, you would see a lot of hobbyist teams attempting to build one on their own.

And guys... PLEASE make sure that the damn thing works before putting one of them on a public road. Thanks :)

Re:Open source ...if only. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238725)

They had loads of hobbyists in the first grand challenge. AFAIK not one vehicle completed that. DARPA isn't interested in cheap solutions, they want good ones that work. There's no point in limiting the cost of the robotics to 50000$ when DARPA is planning to use it on a tank that costs a few million dollars a piece.

Re:Open source ...if only. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237477)

> Actually, this is a good example of something that would not be helped by the open source
> development model. How many hobbyists do you think have a multi-million dollar vehicle
> outfitted with all the necessary sensors and computers?

So "Open Source" == "hobbyist"? Sun, NSA, IBM, Google, etc. are "hobbyists"?

Re:Open source ...if only. (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238033)

Those companies, if they need the algorithms, should be sponsoring the teams because they can afford it. It's the people/companies that can't afford this kind of development that would really benefit from open source.

Re:Open source ...if only. (1)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237713)

With this being funded by DARPA, the only people who would really expect to get a the source code of the winning bot would be military.

Re:Open source ...if only. (2, Interesting)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237763)

Well, the thing is it's a competition so I doubt that people would like to release their code for everyone else to profit off of. Also, I'd bet that some of the teams code specifically for the hardware they have, and it may or may not work on another platform. Our school competes in the underwater contest (only high school to compete heh) and right now our code is highly specific to our machine and our platform. With different pieces of hardware none of our code would work, although to be honest our code kind of fails at life so it doesn't do much anyway. If we hadn't procrastinated so much... but yeah, if it was noncompetitive and the teams used similar hardware then you might see some open source projects, but the way it is now I doubt it. Of course, some teams would do it out of the goodness of their hearts but even so the hardware problems might make it useful as a reference implementation at best. I do know that U of Florida has opensourced their JAUS implementation, but that is a specific protocol for Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) which isn't all that helpful in an unmanned competition.

Congrats.. (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236969)

Although I was hoping that Team OshKosh would finish the race... too bad but a truck that could navigate urban areas effectively would be more beneficial to the military, but on second thought I dont want our house to be @#$$@@NOCARRIER##$@#

they should just tweak the truck to use the winner's technology :P, I'm quite impressed that they got the urban challenge the first time (no take two)

Re:Congrats.. (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237017)

Teaking the truck to use one of the winning technology is relatively easy. It's the software algorithms itself that are hard.

Re:Congrats.. (3, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237211)

Ahhhh.. *lightbulb*

Carnegie Mellon's algorithm

//crossing an intersection
if(OtherCars.SignallingToCross())
{
Me.Stop();
Me.WaitForClear();
}

OshKosh Truck's modified algorithm (copied)

//crossing an intersection
if(OtherCars.SignallingToCross())
{
//Me.Stop();
//Me.WaitForClear();
Me.BuzzHorn(Max_Vol);
}

MIT came in fourth! (2, Informative)

Ndkchk (893797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236971)

Actually, according to the Wired blog, MIT came in fourth, although the other teams were not mentioned.

Re:MIT came in fourth! (1)

solar_blitz (1088029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237033)

Anything can happen on-site that'll make your system fall apart. Neither MIT or Carnegie Melon did well in the Solar Decathlon, either, and that's because a lot of their stuff that was supposed to work ended up failing.

Editorial discretion (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237007)

Nothing at all in that summary tells me what the Urban Challenge is; nothing in ANY of the links tells me concisely what it is, either; Wiki [wikipedia.org] eventually did. How hard would it be to include "a prize competition for driverless cars" in the first sentence of that article?

Are y'all experimenting with automated posting or something, because that at least would make sense.


Triv

Re:Editorial discretion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237089)

youre on slashdot. do as the techies do or find another site. you should know what the urban challenge is considering its been running for 3 years straight now. and reported every single year.

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237115)

maybe they thought the story on this very subject about half a page down was enough.

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

advs89 (921250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237117)

Y'all?? That's a "word" that I only hear where I live, here in Virginia...

Re:Editorial discretion (2, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238469)

Try getting out of your own area then. It will broaden your horizons.

Y'all is prominent in Oklahoma,Missouri,California,Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana(all states that I have lived in). In my travels, most of the south and southwest in the USA will let you experience the whole y'all extravaganza.

It's to the point that when I here something other than y'all, I take notice. South central Pennsylvania was the worst with you'uns instead of y'all for me.(as I type this I notice that Firefox's spell-checker does not flag y'all, but with you'uns I get the RED UNDERLINE!!! Oh No!..the dreaded Red Underline!)

Your use of the quote marks on the word 'word' suggests that you do not think that it is a word.
Try again:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y'all [wikipedia.org] Obligatory wiki link
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?dict=A&key=yall*1+0 [cambridge.org] Cambridge's onlin dictionary
http://www.yourdictionary.com/y-all [yourdictionary.com] Random link from Google search for online dictionaries
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/y'all [m-w.com] And last but not least, Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.

So like it or not, y'all need to get over the fact that the USA is a big country with diverse cultures and dialects...just like any other big country.

Take a trip up north from Virginia...oh, say about 4-5 states right along the same Atlantic coast and be amazed.
Y'all will see a bunch of stuff, you'uns will get to try a lot of different cuisine, youse guys will experience different cultures, and you all will maybe learn something...maybe even some tolerance for those not just like you guys.

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

danlor (309557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237285)

How about this? It's at the bottom of the first page of the first link.

-----
"Vehicles competing in the Urban Challenge will have to think like human drivers and continually make split-second decisions to avoid moving vehicles, including robotic vehicles without drivers, and operate safely on the course. The urban setting adds considerable complexity to the challenge faced by the robotic vehicles, and replicates the environments where many of today's military missions are conducted."

Re:Editorial discretion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237455)

I'm equally displeased. No info on the course length, speed of the vehicles or the time it took to complete.

For a geeky piece, it lacks a lot of details.

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237521)

This is Slashdot. Does the sports section of your daily paper tell you what baseball is when they report on the World Series?

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237981)

Sorry. I'm the one who posted the story. I was giddy from hearing we won and it never even occurred to me to make such a link -- I was busier making links to all the teams.

Wait, what am I saying? This is Slashdot. Use Google.

;-)

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238507)

No need to apologize.
And CONGRAT'S!!!

This has been on /. and the nerd-news sites a good bit lately, so you can safely discount the occasional clueless troll.

Hell, they don't even have to leave /. to search for this, but yes, Google would give them more than they could digest in time to post a relevant reply instead of just spouting nonsense.

Again, congratulations! This was a noteworthy story for /., and a noteworthy win for y'all and the other finishing teams...cool, useful stuff that can be developed for the rest of us in some form, someday. :-)

Re:Editorial discretion (1)

qeorqe (853039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238007)

You are reading the wrong submission. The one with the subject "CMU wins Robot Car Challenge" [slashdot.org] explains more and avoids the phrase "Urban Challenge" in the subject. Its second sentence is "Autonomous (unmanned) robot cars competed in tasks in an urban setting."

Tech (1)

advs89 (921250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237049)

It amazes me that Virginia Tech is right up there with Carnegie Mellon and Stanford. I'm happy to say that I'm going to get to go there (after two years of community college, yielding me a guaranteed transfer - as long as I get a 3.0 GPA in CC)...

Re:Tech (1)

murrdpirate (944127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238397)

And actually beat MIT. How cool is that! In the senior year of mechanical engineering you get to choose from over 30 projects to work on and virginia tech seriously represents in all of them.

I also transfered to tech from community college. You don't actually have to stay for both years, but it does save a lot of money. I applied after my first semester for the following year, and all I had to show them was 13 credits of straight Bs! You will love it here, these have been by far the best years of my life.

This spells doom for ... (3, Funny)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237315)

... suicide car bombers.

MIT pimp ride (3, Interesting)

guacamole (24270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21237359)

I almost laughed out loud when I saw pictures of MIT's pimped out Land Rover. Besides the numerous external sensors and other gear mounted on the vehicle, I read that there is so much internal equipment to manage everything that they had real heating issues that were solved by installing an additional air conditioner and a power generator to power the AC. This is what happens when you give some money and parts to a bunch of bright geeks with too much time.

Re:MIT pimp ride (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237925)

Indeed, it's truly geeks running that show. Way in the beginning, they were thinking of putting some equipment in the engine bay... neglecting to realize that it gets f*cking hot in there while it's going. The LR3 is the second vehicle that MIT built up (the first was a Ford Escape.) They tested out the equipment in MA, where it's much cooler, so they got away with underrating the power supply for everything in the vehicle (there's somewhere between 5 and 10 kW worth of electrical generation underneath the vehicle) but it turned out that in the southwest they'd need more cooling. The solution? Stick yet *another* 3kW generator on the roof just for the A/C. Mmmm....

The MIT computer setup was probably way overkill, the people who spec'd it didn't even consider electrical requirements; there's an obscene amount of computing power in the back (10 blades, 4x Xeons each.) All the extra weight has had serious tolls on the car itself as well; there's been multiple transmission issues and 3 sets of tires gone through.

The software also suffered... it uses a system written entirely in C, using UDP multicast between processes (sensor drivers, fusion and such). It was also purpose written for this application. I think what happened is that they'd rather stick with the devil that they knew than try anything else... but seriously. C? They've got this excessive amount of computing power, and yet they insisted upon using C. Oooookay...

Re:MIT pimp ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238509)

This is what happens when you give some money and parts to a bunch of bright geeks with too much time.

What, they do something totally fucking brilliant?

Their hardware setup may be a bit obscene, and they may have finished last, but they did finish. I expected no winners of this prize for years. Cut them a little slack...

Bad accounting principles helped CMG? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21237625)

I would be interested to know exactly what the scores where and how they were derived. From reading the Popular Mechanics [popularmechanics.com] (blog [popularmechanics.com] ) and Register [theregister.co.uk] (blog [theregister.co.uk] ) reports, it sounds like Stanford might have gotten a bit of the raw end of the stick.

Specifically, the Register is reporting that it DARPA counted the up to 20min Stanford's car was stuck sandwiched between two other cars due to Cornell's robot screwing up against it, and Popular Mechanics is reporting that DARPA says Stanford lost to Carnegie Mellon by about 20min.

Sounds like it would have been a extremely close race if DARPA had been applying more reasonable (from the principle of trying to eliminate luck as a large factor) accounting principles.

Re:Bad accounting principles helped CMG? (1)

beefstu01 (520880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238289)

You should get that straight. Cornell's robot didn't screw up-- MIT's car ran into it. MIT also took out another competitor, CarOLO I think it was.

Re:Bad accounting principles helped CMG? (1)

not5150 (732114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238607)

He was probably talking about the incident where Cornell's bot kept hitting the brakes for 5-10 minutes. But yes, MIT was the one that ran into Cornell at one point.

Re:Bad accounting principles helped CMG? (2, Informative)

not5150 (732114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238549)

I was at the race and Tartan Racing won fair and square. First, their bot started about 20 minutes after Stanford because they had some issues with some electrical interference coming from a nearby Jumbotron television (yes crazy I know). Stanford was paused for the MIT versus Cornell collision and was also paused a bit for Cornell's 10 minute stop and go routine on Nevada street. That was when Stanford's Junior decided to car hop from way back in line to the 2nd behind Cornell. Both Stanford and Tartan (CMU) ran well and were very smooth, but Boss was a bit more aggressive on the straight aways. Here's race video footage so you can see yourself - http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34687/113/ [tgdaily.com]

What's the point of just mentioning the School... (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238167)

...when major players on the Auto Industry worked jointly with them and they weren't mentioned, unless one actually checks out the team bios?

Congratulations to the German team for... (1, Informative)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238169)

Having the cutest team member!
http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/Teams/TeamAnnieway.asp [darpa.mil]

Why Offtopic? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238643)

She is cute! AND a nerdy type geek to boot!

Maybe not quite in Kari Byron's class(of Mythbusters fame), http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.tvsquad.com/media/2006/05/mythbuster-kari.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.tvsquad.com/category/mythbusters/&h=253&w=250&sz=20&tbnid=r8mZbMBJ-dwMMM:&tbnh=111&tbnw=110&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dkari%252Bmythbusters%26um%3D1&start=1&sa=X&oi=images&ct=image&cd=1 [google.com]
but still cute and geeky in her own right.

I would have given you a +1 informative for bringing her to our attention, not offtopic!

Note to the modders...get out of yer mom's basement!
Offtopic...sheesh!

Hell, I'd pay to see this chick and Kari wrestling nude...in hot grits!

Unmanned Vehichles = Perpetual Militarized Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21238675)

This is only the beginning of the new world order. Imagine unmanned robotic vehicles prowling the streets in Iraq, Iran, and...hmmm...even New York? With enough firepower, these vehicles could control all movement of citizens within any of these locales. Seems like a necessary step to either control the streets of some oil-producing nation indefinitely, or for implementing a military coup of some random Democracy.

Re:Unmanned Vehichles = Perpetual Militarized Cont (1)

IlliniECE (970260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21238743)

Oh gee! Thats awful. Good thing we have your wisdom to point this out for us!
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