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The European Grand Challenge 61

An anonymous reader writes "A European version of the DARPA Grand Challenge is being held in Germany next month. Instead of a race through the desert, the EU challenge is split into three events. Urban, non-urban, and landmine detection will be the 'courses', with multiple winners in each event. Interestingly Sebastian Thrun, winner of last year's Challenge, has been forbidden from taking part despite being a European citizen." From the article: "The trials will take place in and around Hammelburg, a mockup of a town used by the German military for training exercises. In the non-urban course the robots will have to contend with a one-kilometer route containing ditches, barbed wire fences, cattle guards, fires, narrow underpasses, and inclines of up to 40 degrees. The urban and landmine 500-meter trials will require the robots to negotiate doorways, stairs, partially collapsed buildings, and poor visibility from smoke or partial lighting. Along the way, they will also have to search for designated objects and report their findings back to base."
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The European Grand Challenge

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  • DARPA was better (Score:3, Informative)

    by romka1 ( 891990 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:37PM (#15136601) Homepage
    The Official site []

    Participants [] are not as interesting as DARPA most of them are small robots not full sized cars...

    Although I would like to watch how those robots will pass the mine field
  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @03:08AM (#15137184)
    Those are being developed. iRobot PackBot, Foster Miller Talon, Remotec Mini Andros. They are controlled by human operators, have a coulple cameras and are being testing with explosive detection devices. The robots I mentioned are more or less designed to disable the IED after they are found, but companies are making add-ons that aid in detecting IEDs in the field.
  • Re:Denied access (Score:3, Informative)

    by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @06:00AM (#15137514)
    I also thought that it was not possible, except for very rare exceptions, so I looked it up: The main policy of germany is to avoid letting people have two citizenships, but there are indeed exceptions, as you can read in the link below, and the links therein: IzJmlkPTQyNDU_.html []

    There's a lot of interesting stuff there, for example if you move from a country TO germany you can keep the two citizenships when the original country does not allow you to let go of their citizenship: marocco, algeria, tunesia, syria, iran (one Bundesland does not allow 2 citizenships of you're from Iran, I guess that must be Bayern ;) ) In the case of this guy however, if you move to another country and accept their citizenship you can request a 'Beibehaltungsgenehmigung' (ah, german bureaucratic words), where you have to show that you have and will keep considerable ties to Germany.

    So, several things could be the matter, one is that the journalist just assumed he has two citizenships, but in reality doesn't. The second is that he actually has two citizenships, but that the organization committee doesn't accept his team because it's from a non-european university (this would make sense). Three, he actually would be able to apply, but the committee are a bunch of chauvinist pigs that want one of the european teams they are most related to win, and know that they won't stand a chance against this guy ;)

    In any case, most of the european scientific community isn't a very "open" one, it's hard to get into a top-position, you'll have to make friends in the right positions, etc. And I guess sebsatian thrun has seen reconfirmed the reason that he left europe in the first place.

    Disclaimer: I'm a european starting a scientific career in europe, or maybe not ;)

  • by tass01024 ( 968748 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @07:21AM (#15137614)
    One of the main military policies of the US is to be an early adopter and thus on the forefront of every military technology (pratically every technology, besides eco-related :-)) , therefore EU or any other will always be copying the US in some way

    Some comments on the EU Galileo (GAL) project and differencies to GPS (Nav Sys / US):
    - GAL - Civilian (public and pay services), GPS - (public and military services)
    - GAL works in cojunction with GPS and GLONASS (Russia), GPS is not meant to work with other systems (first adopter)
    - GAL and GPS both are augmented by overlayer system like WAAS and EGNOS
    - GAL has a rescue service with return link (SAR Beacon), this is actually 'copied' from GLONASS :-) (USSR first adopters) ... FYI: works like this: you activate beacon, signal picked up by sat. relayed to ground, emergency services signaled and confirmation to beacon is relayed back.
    - GAL has an important integrity signal relayed with nav.signal, to tell uses if the system is actually performing, nice to know if your placing a 100 ton concrete slap (EU first adopters)
    - GAL will work well over most of the globe, GPS has places where the constellation is sub-optimal (like nothern EU contries), GLONASS is very poor at the moment.

    Basically there is some copying going on, but I would say it's more a re-working with a broader perspective. The main point is Galileo is non-military, not hooked up to an early-response-system, and not hooked up to an total-annihilation system :-(

    Yes, I'm European and work in the Galileo project, call me French if you like (but I'm not).
  • by Itchy Rich ( 818896 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @03:57PM (#15139231)

    Here you're wrong, the USSR doesn't exist anymore. It was dissolved in 1991.

    No, he's not wrong, on that score at least. The USSR launched the first of their GLONASS satellites in the 1980's, so it's perfectly justifiable to talk about the USSR in this context.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.