Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
Robotics Technology

DARPA Announces Grand Challenge 2005 164

An anonymous reader writes "The Grand Challenge 2005 Date has been announced for October 8, 2005. Check out DARPA's official webpage for details. Already several teams from last year are gearing up: Carnegie Mellon Red Team, D.A.D., and Cal Tech. Also, several new teams are entering, among them Stanford, and Florida Tech. Should be a very interesting Challenge next year!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DARPA Announces Grand Challenge 2005

Comments Filter:
  • by darth_MALL ( 657218 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:40PM (#9369340)
    "Should be a very interesting Challenge next year!" ...more so if anyone finishes [cnn.com]
    • Yah. GH 2004 was such a whopping success that my brother and I started toying with the idea of entering (or at least attempting to enter) the challenge. We've got an old VW dune buggy, a webcam, a couple of old PII notebook computers, plenty of bailing wire (we're in Oklahoma, no duct tape for us) and a few distros of Linux to work with.

      Surely we can't do any worse than this year's competitors, eh?
    • Re:We'll see... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:48PM (#9369413) Journal

      "Should be a very interesting Challenge next year!" ...more so if anyone finishes

      More interesting for who? The crowd or the researchers? Hey, if you want an exciting race, go watch NASCAR (or not). As far as the researchers are concerned, it's probably more interesting when these things fail to finish the race than if they all completed the course without difficulty. Each failure teachs the researchers something about AI. These "lessons learned" are then used for a variety of applications and theoretical extensions, not just building a better autonomous car.

      DARPA is not putting on these contests because they expect someone to win. They are trying to give researchers a difficult problem to work on. Don't be looking at the fact that none of the vehicles came close to finishing the race as some sort of failure or "boring". The problem is quite exciting for the researchers and for anyone interested in AI. The fact that they are making it an annual thing is icing on the cake.

      GMD

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you think NASCAR is exciting, we've clearly got a fundamental disagreement
      • Re:We'll see... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jardine ( 398197 )
        Hey, if you want an exciting race, go watch NASCAR (or not). As far as the researchers are concerned, it's probably more interesting when these things fail to finish the race than if they all completed the course without difficulty

        Hey, NASCAR races are more exciting when that happens too. People love to see stuff break.
    • The challenge is too hard to expect success in the near future. If they keep the same race format, these robots have to average 30 mph through undeveloped desert terrain in order to finish within the time limit. If the desert is anything like the ones I've been in, I'm not sure that I could do it without running into a mountain.
    • It should be noted that the Aerial Robotics Competition didn't have any winners for its first few years of competition. Each year they changed the rules to make it harder, even though no one finished the previous year's challenge (in fact, no team even had a vehicle capable of autonomous flight). Then, one team had a helicopter that autonomously hovered, navigated obstacles, and even located and picked up an object off the ground -- while no other team could even autonomously fly. The following year, eve
  • we can only hope (Score:1, Interesting)

    by bigben7187 ( 754240 )
    maybe this time someone will actually make it more than a few miles. Actually i expect someone will finish the whole race, but i do not know if they will finish it within the time requirements.
  • by YodaToo ( 776221 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:42PM (#9369359)
    ...the 2005 challenge will involve creating autonomous vehicles that can navigate one mile along a flat, empty highway with a clearly marked, solid center strip. The vehicles will have one week to navigate the course
    • "A flat, empty highway with a clearly marked, solid center strip." So all we have to do for the robots to win the war is nuke the offending country flat, and then send in paint-bombers (UAV's of course) to mark the strip...
    • D.A.D. [digitalautodrive.com] can already do this.
    • Slow down. (Score:3, Funny)

      by gosand ( 234100 )
      .the 2005 challenge will involve creating autonomous vehicles that can navigate one mile along a flat, empty highway with a clearly marked, solid center strip.

      Based on what I see every day on my commute, it would be a tough enough challenge to have a manned vehicle complete this task.

      Maybe if you would get off your goddamn phone you wouldn't be swerving into my lane!!

  • what if... (Score:4, Funny)

    by teknokracy ( 660401 ) <teknokracy.telus@net> on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:42PM (#9369366)
    This year: Make a robot that will successfully find a parking spot at the mall!
    • I'd pay for that, but for now, I simply play Park Shark.
    • This year: Make a robot that will successfully find a parking spot at the mall!

      The challenge isn't supposed to be impossible!
    • Make a robot that will successfully find a parking spot at the mall!


      That would be a practical appliation. You'ld just drive up and let yourself off at the mall entrance and let the car worry about finding a parking spot while you're shopping. Push a button on the fob and the car drives itself back up to the entrance and picks you up.

  • "Should be a very interesting Challenge next year!"
    • Yeah, 'cause this year's challenge was just captivating.
    • I, for one, found the golf cart very entertaining.

      Seriously, I wish the participants luck, and I don't expect them to finish this year either. I live near the Mojave, and it's damned hard to off-road there even when you don't have obstacles and you do have a driver. So cut the guys/gals some slack.
    • Actually I found it very interesting - up until the point the race actually took place. The development is at least as important as the result to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When's the contest going to be held to see who can build the smartest engineer?
  • by Cyclotron_Boy ( 708254 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:46PM (#9369399) Homepage
    a big garage, a spare '67 IH Scout 800, a laptop I could trash, assorted robotics parts, and a month or two paid time off (or better yet- sponsored by my work)... I just *know* I could get out of the parking lot...
  • a brief comment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vmircea ( 730382 )
    I've actually seen something very similar to this before, I believe that they should be able to actually do this. At a local college near me I watched as the robotics team ran their robot through an obstacle course by having it follow a nice little line using an optical sensor... So I think this challenge will be possible, although not easy to do for one mile. But even if noone actually does claim the prize and finish... it is the fact that you learn something from the experience and hopefully that experie
  • just build the machine itself to be relatively indestructable- handling any terrain. Say with four wheels large enough to be completely invertable and floatable. Then just add a GPS unit and skid steering, and some simple logic to try 4 times, then rotate 90 degrees, run for 100 feet, rotate back 90 degrees, and try again, recursively, plus seek out pregrogrammed destination co-ordinates. Make it go up to 60 MPH to make up time when it doesn't have any barriers to get around, and let it go. It might not take the straightest route, but it will get there eventually- kind of like my 1-year-old's bumble ball robot that has no brains at all, just a gyroscope and bumpers to keep it moving in random directions.

    Even better yet- a huge bumble ball with GPS locator to tell us where it is- just drop it into ANY terrain, and it will bounce around until it gets where it wants to be.
    • > huge bumble ball with GPS locator

      No no! You need to refer to that by its scientific name - simulated annealing [rubyforge.org]. There, now you can increase your billing rate by $50 an hour!
    • by avalys ( 221114 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:02PM (#9369541)
      Make it go up to 60 MPH to make up time when it doesn't have any barriers to get around, and let it go

      And what will you do when this thing crashes at 60 mph into one of the barriers you haven't designed it to detect?

      Collision avoidance without physical contact is one of the biggest challenges these teams face.

      Also, the obstacles aren't necessarily these big, obvious concrete barriers dumped in the middle of the desert. How would your robot deal with encountering a lake, or coming to the edge of a cliff?
      • And what will you do when this thing crashes at 60 mph into one of the barriers you haven't designed it to detect?

        Who's detecting anything? Go ahead and crash into the boulder or whatever- design the robot to bounce, use an accelerometer to detect the bounce. 60MPH bumpers aren't exactly impossible, you know.

        Collision avoidance without physical contact is one of the biggest challenges these teams face.

        Is that in the rules that they must have no physical contact? The website I saw deleted the rules for 2004 and hasn't posted the rules for 2005- but I can't imagine why they'd care if a combat-bot moving through enemy terroitory demolishes a few houses along the way, or crashes into them, detecting them as a barrier, and moves off in a different random direction.

        Also, the obstacles aren't necessarily these big, obvious concrete barriers dumped in the middle of the desert. How would your robot deal with encountering a lake, or coming to the edge of a cliff?

        Well, the lake was in the original, that's why you'd want the robot to be amphibious as well as reasonably indestructible. But I grant you the cliff- I guess it depends whether the cliff is on it's internal map of the area or not. Anyway, that's one way to detect the cliff and even find roads/bridges to cross a canyon. Another way to deal with it is with a range finder angled towards the ground- if it's suddenly WAY steeper in front of the robot than the robot was expecting, turn around and find another way.

        Or, alternatively, as long as you're making your electric-drive, 60MPH, invertable robot's body out of black-box strength steel to begin with, don't worry about the cliffs. A drop of a mile or so won't hurt it, and it will find it's way out of the canyon eventually.....
        • Another way to deal with it is with a range finder angled towards the ground- if it's suddenly WAY steeper in front of the robot than the robot was expecting, turn around and find another way.

          Speaking as a former off-road enthusiast, unless that range-finder is suspended a couple hundred feet in front of your vehicle, it's not going to do you any good if you're moving at 60mph. Stopping on natural surfaces can often take a lot more distance than you're used to, especially if there's a downgrade involved.
          • The difference being- in an automated, unmanned vehicle you can overengineer things to a ridiculous strength- and you don't really need the comfort of a shock free cabin either if you use solid state for your electronics. This competition should be entirely different than standard offroad- and calls for a completely different vehicle (something that the current crop of inventors competing in it seem not to have figured out yet).

            OTOH- you've got a point with the speed, and there's also a rule I missed abo
        • "but I can't imagine why they'd care if a combat-bot moving through"

          The interesting question is exactly what are they planning on using this technology for if it ever works. All I recall is Congress passed a bill, and made some money available for the military with a mandate to move some of its vehicles to autonomous robots. Is that a scout vehicle, a combat vehicle, a cargo carrier or some of each.

          One of the Army's obvious bigger problems in Iraq is moving supplies without getting people in the convoy
    • Don't forget the nuclear power plant to keep this thing going forever until it finally finds a path to the target, or maybe solar panels for a more eco-friendly robot-car-of-death(tm).
      • Or thermocouples in a nice steel box that will heat up like an oven under the desert sun (using, of course, infrared instead of visible light for solar power, plus a bit more sturdy than your average solar panel, that being the main idea here, making the robot tough enough to handle anything).
    • just build the machine itself to be relatively indestructable- handling any terrain....

      While they're at it, why don't they make it out of the same stuff that they make the plane's black box out of??!

      /rimshot
      • While they're at it, why don't they make it out of the same stuff that they make the plane's black box out of??!

        Exactly. The problem with the approaches to the Grand Challenge so far is that they're relying WAY too much on the AI- when what they should be doing is improving the construction of the original vehicle to the point that the AI can be very, very, very stupid- basically just a homing beacon seeker using an internal map to stick to roads as much as possible and GPS navigation. The "beacon" can
    • Better idea. Mount a CPU on top of a rocket. Aim at the finish line. You've won the 10h test in problably less then 3 min.
  • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:52PM (#9369439)
    The team that completes the Grand Challenge 2005 route within a specified time will receive a cash prize of $2 million, an increase from the $1 million prize offered at last year?s event.

    In the first DARPA Grand Challenge, held on a desert route from California to Nevada, 15 teams from a field of 106 applicants progressed to the final event


    Why increase the prize to $2M? If the goal of the challenge is to develop an autonomous vehicle, why not use the extra $1M as a grant to fund the top 15 teams from the last challenge.

    • why not use the extra $1M as a grant to fund the top 15 teams from the last challenge

      because it would be unfair to newcomers to the competition.

      OTOH, what top 15 teams? There was a TOTAL [imagiverse.org] of 15 teams qualified!!!

    • why not use the extra $1M as a grant to fund the top 15 teams

      Because $66,666 is squat.

    • If you hold out a larger carrot, more venture capitalists, companies, and universities will put more money into the race.

      An extra $1M in winnings increases the amount invested by several million, so it is better spent as part of the carrot, rather than the fuel.

      -Adam
  • Florida Tech? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TXGB324 ( 685941 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:52PM (#9369444)
    As a proud dropout of Florida Tech, I'd just like to point out that the "Florida Tech" link goes to an article about the University of Florida. If Florida Tech is competting, I wish them all the best luck. Here's the correct link to their website: www.fit.edu [fit.edu]
    • Right on...as a proud graduate I can confirm that the link is for the wrong Florida Tech. Florida Institute of Technology (fit as it was called although probably too often confused with the Fashion Institute of Technology hence the name change to Florida Tech) usually prefers those "concrete canoe" type of events
      • I don't think any of the other teams need to worry about the "competition" from FIT... Unless F.W. Olin has thrown another $30 million at them. (also an alum)
    • I don't know if Florida Tech is competing in it, but I know that the University of Florida did; a friend of mine was on the team.

      Their website is here. [ufl.edu]

  • Dupe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tree131 ( 643930 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:52PM (#9369446)
    This topic, although w/ slightly different wording has been chewed [slashdot.org] and swallowed/spat out couple of days ago...

  • Nitpicks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:54PM (#9369461) Homepage Journal
    Anthony J. Tether, DARPA director, noted: "This event is a challenge for American ingenuity. It brings together individuals and organizations from the research and development community, industry, Government, the Armed Services, academia, professional societies, and from the ranks of students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts.

    Are non-American citizens allowed to participate? I tried looking at the Rules Page [grandchallenge.org] but it's not up yet. I don't recall if there was a stipulation which restricted participants to American citizens.

    Given DARPA's great R&D track record in the past (Internet and what not), I would've liked to participate in the contest *purely* from a scientific curiousity point of view - and I bet a lot of nerds all over the world would like to overlook the fact that the contest is sponsored by a military agency (prize not withstanding - since it's US taxpayer money). Just as long as DARPA lives up to it's name and does not morph into OARPA - it's happened way too many times in the past.

    Incidentally, the link to the official page [darpa.mil] is incorrect on that page. The site linked to in the article seems to be just a mirror of the darpa.mil site, however.

  • by nizo ( 81281 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @03:55PM (#9369474) Homepage Journal
    The DARPA Grand Challenge is a field test designed to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles that will help save lives on the future battlefield.

    I can't wait to see all the new automated field medic designs. Wait, why does that one have a big gun sticking out of the top....

  • Should be a very interesting Challenge next year!

    What is your evidence for this? This year, everyone looked promising but failed at the first hurdle. Nobody even got to the halfway point, and the whole thing was badly presented to the public as well. Anyway, lets hope things go better next year :)
  • Isn't this just open-country BattleBots?
  • Read this older post. [slashdot.org] I think it speaks for itself. One wonders how many teams they will let in this time around? Or, is this going to be the same-old same-old [earthlink.net]?

  • posted on slashdot [slashdot.org]. Scale up the Big Trak a touch, and you're in it.
  • But somehow

    SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY!!

    just doesn't sound right [tradedforwheat.com].

  • I suppose this is offtopic for everyone else, but that is my 50th birthday and setting that date when I am trying to avoid thinking of my 49th is very very insensitive. 16 months off and they have to pick that date. No, I won't be there.
  • wheels vs legs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HybridJeff ( 717521 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @04:36PM (#9369822) Homepage
    Were all the entries last year wheel based? Id think when it comes to maneuverability and obstacle avoidance, a walking robot would do the job better. Of course you couldnt have one of those lame assed ASIMO type bots. Do damn slow and clunkey. Just make somthing with at least 4 legs, and you've fixed that whole falling over problem.

    Thats what Id try anyway. I'd fail miserably, but wouldnt building a mechanical cheetah b e lots of fun.

  • Considering the course and the results of the last race, what DARPA is really looking for is one of those fancy walking MINI Cooper robots that looks as though it stepped right out of the Transformers cartoons! Getting somebody to say as much in an official memo has been quite the challenge...
  • I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone use a modified Range Rover. They've been using these for god knows how long to navigate terrain in Africa on safaris and other ventures where there are 0 roads.

    And another thing, stop putting a damn space in Caltech. Its 1 word when written like that.
  • Cornell University is going to use its Hybrid Electric Vehicle (http://hev.cornell.edu [cornell.edu]) as its own entry into DARPA. They want to kick Carnegie Mellon's butt. :)
  • We'll be there. [overbot.com]

    We need a few good volunteers in Silicon Valley. No pay, some risk, long hours, we cover all the expenses. We're close to a working vehicle, as can be seen from the pictures on our web site.

  • This would be a much better challenge for John Carmack. He would have a much better chance of winning and no one can get killed.
  • Is there a reason that they don't hold the challenge(s) more ofter? It seems to me that this task is something that should be technically do-able. Also, it seems to me that good R&D work is done in sprints, rather than waterfall style development.

    The government owns the land, right - so no cost there. These guys are funding themselves because the result of being successful will be to get recogniztion (and $$) from DARPA.

    Why not do it more often?
  • Lessons Learned (Score:5, Interesting)

    by texbot ( 786549 ) on Tuesday June 08, 2004 @05:24PM (#9370684)
    As a member of Team Caltech I can say that next year's race going to be much more exciting for a couple of reasons.

    First off, returning teams already have a foundation to build upon, both in existing hardware and in technical experience. Writing software for a race like this is almost impossible to do without testing it on a working vehicle (i.e. testing in simulation only works out major problems, but does not translate well to desert racing). For example, Caltech spent 6 months getting actuators and drivers to work well enough to hand over the vehicle to the software team. As soon as that happened, we noticed several problems interfacing the actuators to the software (e.g. updating actuator positions too fast locked them up and made them stop responding). Ultimately our vehicle was not even waypoint following accurately until late February. Most teams were in the same state we were in - racing the clock, plagued by bad hardware (sensors and actuators) and inexperience. BUT we were very close to being very good. If they re-ran the race mid-summer this year the results from all of the teams would be very different. Looking to next year, teams have working vehicles which means 1 full year of onsite testing instead of 2 months.

    Another thing that is interesting about the next race is the timing relative to academic calendars. A lot of teams are university driven and it was very difficult for students to devote enough time to the project while still handling their school requirements (definitely true with a Caltech workload). The next race is at the very end of the summer which means that a crew can work on the vehicle full time for three months before the next race.

    Whether or not someone wins the next race is entirely up to DARPA. By next year there will be 5+ teams that could navegate last-race's course in

    Anyway, good luck to all teams...especially new teams - you have quite a hurdle in front of you. See you in 1 year.

  • Why is it that when I click on the link (titled: www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge [darpa.mil]) at the bottom of the page at http://www.grandchallenge.org/media.html [grandchallenge.org] I get a "page not found" error?

    Is it incompetence on the part of the creator of that page or is it because I'm surfing from outside the USA and DARPA figure it's not a good idea for potential terrorists to see what's going on with this challenge? :-)
  • Straight from the article [ieee.org]:
    Whittaker has a charismatic, take-no-prisoners style
    ?!
  • ... immediate conscription into the U.S. Army, and a free trip (of indefinite stay) to Iraq!
  • Then please, for goodness sake, say it; don't mod into invisibility important matters of this sort. This is about life choices; do you want to work for the Bush empire while pretending that you are not facilitating genocide and societal slavery, or do you want to survive with your soul intact? This is pivotal stuff. Don't be fooled by the cheesy arguments, half-assed rationalizations and knee-jerk moderations. People are directly responsible for their actions and contributions to the world. Pretending
  • I'm designing a fully autonomous Congressman who can cut the military's bloated corporate-welfare budget. It'll be 100% lobbyist proof!

Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?

Working...