DARPA Grand Challenge (2005)

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Main article: DARPA Grand Challenge

The second driverless car competition of the DARPA Grand Challenge was a 212 km (132 mi) off-road course that began at 6:40am on October 8, 2005, near the California/Nevada state line. All but one of the 23 finalists in the 2005 race surpassed the 11.78 km (7.32 mi) distance completed by the best vehicle in the 2004 race. Five vehicles successfully completed the course:

Vehicle Team Name Team Home Time Taken
(h:m)
Result
Stanley Stanford Racing Team Stanford University, Palo Alto, California 6:54 First place
Sandstorm Red Team Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 7:05 Second place
H1ghlander Red Team Too 7:14 Third place
Kat-5 Team Gray The Gray Insurance Company, Metairie, Louisiana 7:30 Fourth place
TerraMax Team TerraMax Oshkosh Truck Corporation, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 12:51 Over 10 hour limit, fifth place
Beer Bottle Pass

Vehicles in the 2005 race passed through three narrow tunnels and navigated more than 100 sharp left and right turns. The race concluded through Beer Bottle Pass, a winding mountain pass with sheer drop-offs on both sides. Although the 2004 course had required more elevation gain and some very sharp switchbacks (Daggett Ridge) had been required near the beginning of the route, it had had far fewer curves and generally wider roads than the 2005 course.

The natural rivalry between the teams from Stanford and Carnegie Mellon (Sebastian Thrun, head of the Stanford team was previously a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon and colleague of Red Whittaker, head of the CMU team) was played out during the race. Mechanical problems plagued H1ghlander before it was passed by Stanley. Gray Team’s entry was a miracle in itself, as the team from the suburbs of New Orleans was caught in Hurricane Katrina a few short months before the race. The fifth finisher, Terramax, a 30,000 pound entry from Oshkosh Truck, finished on the second day. The huge truck spent the night idling on the course, and was particularly nimble in carefully picking its way down the narrow roads of Beer Bottle Pass.

National Qualification Event (NQE)[edit]

Of the original 195 applicants, initially 40 teams were selected to participate in the National Qualification Event (NQE). Three teams were added on Aug. 23, 2005 to the semi-finalist 40 teams who were selected from site visits, sending 43 teams to the NQE.

The National Qualification Event was held at California Speedway in Fontana from September 27 through October 5. The results of the NQE were used to cut the 43 teams down to 23 for the race on October 8.

Vehicle performances at the NQE were judged by (1) elapsed time to complete the course; (2) number of obstacles successfully passed without contact; (3) number of gates successfully passed. DARPA did not reveal the relative importance of these three factors. DARPA's final ranking of the vehicles, for purposes of pole position in the Grand Challenge Event (GCE), may have been partly subjective.

The results of the 2005 DARPA NQEs are shown below sorted top to bottom by runs completed and gates passed, compiled from DARPA's published NQE results. This ordering does not correspond to DARPA's ranking of team performance. (For example, this ordering does not reflect speed as an element of performance.) Teams highlighted in green were the teams that DARPA selected to participate in the Grand Challenge desert race.

Team name Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Finishes Total gates Desert race participant
Time Gates Obstacles Time Gates Obstacles Time Gates Obstacles Time Gates Obstacles
Stanford 10 50 4 9 50 4 11 50 5 11 50 5 4 200 Yes
Red Team Too 10 47 3 9 50 4 10 50 4 10 50 5 4 197 Yes
Red Team 9 47 4 10 48 5 11 49 5 9 50 4 4 194 Yes
Terramax 27 47 3 22 47 4 21 49 4 25 50 3 4 193 Yes
Axion 15 36 5 16 40 4 12 40 2 12 41 3 4 157 Yes
IVST x 44 2 11 44 3 8 47 4 11 49 4 3 184 Yes
Sciautionics x 22 1 16 46 4 14 48 4 14 48 5 3 164 Yes
Buckeyes x 10 0 21 49 4 16 49 4 25 50 4 3 158 Yes
Caltech x 21 0 16 44 5 12 44 4 16 49 5 3 158 Yes
Cornell x 9 0 10 49 4 12 50 4 12 50 5 3 158 Yes
VA Tech Rocky x 9 0 13 48 4 15 49 5 15 49 5 3 155 Yes
Mojavaton x 20 1 x 30 1 15 47 2 16 48 2 2 145 Yes
ENSCO x 19 0 x 21 0 13 44 4 15 50 4 2 134 Yes
CIMAR x 9 0 x 30 1 15 46 4 13 47 3 2 132 Yes
Golem x 0 0 x 31 1 9 49 4 12 50 5 2 130 Yes
Insight Racing x 12 0 x 17 0 29 47 4 17 49 5 2 125 Yes
DAD x 10 0 x 24 0 10 42 4 11 44 4 2 120 Yes
MonsterMoto x 0 0 x 12 0 14 47 5 13 49 5 2 108 Yes
Princeton x 0 0 x 9 0 13 48 4 12 50 5 2 107 Yes
Team Jefferson x 10 0 x 16 0 x 36 1 18 49 5 1 111 No
CajunBot x 0 0 x 18 0 x 29 1 16 49 4 1 96 Yes
Austin x 5 0 x 21 0 x 22 0 52 45 4 1 93 No
Grey Team x 2 0 x 14 0 x 15 0 16 48 5 1 79 Yes
UCF x 6 0 x 8 0 x 17 0 28 47 5 1 78 No
Va Tech GC Team x 0 0 x 5 0 x 16 0 17 44 3 1 65 Yes
Banzai x 0 0 x 6 0 x 16 1 21 39 3 1 61 No
Mitre x 0 0 x 0 0 x 10 0 21 44 5 1 54 Yes
AION x 1 0 x 3 0 x 8 0 35 33 3 1 45 No
Juggernaut x 8 0 x 15 0 x 17 0 x 36 1 0 76 No
AI Motovators x 8 0 x 14 0 x 16 0 x 33 2 0 71 No
Blue Team x 6 0 x 13 0 x 16 1 x 20 1 0 55 No
Indy Robot Racing x 6 0 x 12 1 x 14 0 x 23 0 0 55 No
Tormenta x 4 0 x 10 0 x 15 0 x 20 0 0 49 No
CyberRider x 0 0 x 0 0 x 1 0 x 36 2 0 37 No
Overbot x 4 0 x 6 0 x 10 0 x 11 0 0 31 No
Terra Engineering x 0 0 x 6 0 x 7 0 x 14 0 0 27 No
AVS x 0 0 x 3 0 x 7 0 x 16 0 0 26 No
Autonosys x 0 0 x 0 0 x 9 0 x 14 0 0 23 No
BJB Engineering x 0 0 x 0 0 x 2 0 x 13 0 0 15 No
PVHS x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 x 3 0 0 3 No
Indiana Robotic Nav x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 x 2 0 0 2 No
Oregon Wave x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 0 0 No
Underdawg x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 x 0 0 0 0 No

There were four NQE runs. The above four major columns are sorted from worst to best runs of each team. "Time" signifies the time in minutes for a completed run and "x" indicates an incomplete run. "Gates" indicates the number of gates along the track that were passed (there were 50 total per run). "Obstacles" indicates the number of obstacles on the track that were passed (there were 5 total per run). "Finishes" indicates the total number of runs that the team successfully completed (there were 4 runs total). "Total Gates" indicates the total number of gates that the team successfully passed. The teams are sorted from top to bottom according to runs completed and then by total gates passed. Teams indicated as a "desert race participant" are those teams invited by DARPA to participate in the Grand Challenge desert race. Source data

For the first and second run, only 4 obstacles were present whereas for the third and fourth runs 5 obstacles were present. The NQE results presented in the table above show each team's runs sorted left to right from their worst run to their best run in order to better illustrate relative ranking (i.e. not in order of the actual run sequence).

On October 6, the selected teams transported their robots to the starting location. On October 7 the teams had a day to fix any portions of the robots broken in the course of transportation prior to the actual race.

Race[edit]

A Google Talk video about the DARPA 2005 race is available at YouTube

The route to be followed by the robots was supplied to the teams two hours before the start as a computer file with GPS coordinates, one every 72 m (237 feet) of the route, with more frequent waypoints in difficult patches. Some teams used topographic maps and aerial imagery to manually map out and program precise path and speed settings. Once the race had started, the robots were not allowed to contact humans in any way.

Each robot started at a different time and was "paused" for different amounts of time during the race; DARPA compensated for the staggered start times and subtracted the pause time from each robot's total to derive its final official time. The $2 million prize was awarded on Sunday, October 9, 2005.

The 2005 competitors were much more successful than those of 2004; only one failed to pass the 11.84 km (7.36 mi) mark set by the best-performing 2004 entry, Sandstorm. By the end, 18 robots had been disabled and five robots finished the course. On the first day, Stanley from Stanford University, and H1ghlander and Sandstorm from Carnegie Mellon University, finished within minutes of each other, with Stanley crossing the finish line first. Kat-5 from Gray Team started much later, but finished in a comparable time. The race paused overnight with one competitor, TerraMax, left on the course at mile 83; TerraMax had the stage to itself on Sunday as it belatedly rumbled home.

The winner of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge was Stanley, with a course time of 6 hours 53 minutes and 8 seconds (6:53:08) with average speed of 30.7 km/h (19.1 mph). CMU's Sandstorm followed with 7:04:50 at 29.9 km/h (18.6 mph) and H1ghlander at 7:14:00 at 29.3 km/h (18.2 mph). Gray Team's Kat-5 came through at 7:30:16 with average speed of 28.2 km/h (17.5 mph). Oshkosh Truck's Terramax finished at 12:51 and would not have been eligible for the prize because it exceeded the ten-hour limit.

The Official Website (requires Flash player plugin) contained a map and positions of the competitors, while TG Daily posted a running summary of the day's events.

Race participants[edit]

# Vehicle Team Name Team Home Time Taken
(h:m)
Result
1. Stanley Stanford Racing Team Stanford University, Palo Alto, California 6:54 First place
2. Sandstorm Red Team Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 7:05 Second place
3. H1ghlander Red Team Too 7:14 Third place
4. Kat-5 Team Gray The Gray Insurance Company, Metairie, Louisiana 7:30 Fourth place
5. TerraMax Team TerraMax Oshkosh Truck Corporation, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 12:51 Over 10 hour limit, fifth place
6. DEXTER Team Ensco Ensco, Springfield, Virginia DNF Out of race at 81 miles; tire blowout after going off-course due to bent frame
7. Spirit Axion Racing Westlake Village, California DNF Out of race at 66 miles; got stuck in sand, possibly after mechanical failure in suspension
8. Cliff Virginia Tech Grand Challenge Team Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia DNF Out of race at 44 miles due to vehicle motor mechanical problems.
9. Rocky Virginia Tech Team Rocky DNF Out of race at 39 miles; a steep hill caused the oil in its generator to slosh around. The generator's low-oil sensor went off, cutting power to computers.
10. ION Desert Buckeyes Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio DNF Out of race at 29 miles
11. DAD Team DAD Digital Auto Drive/Velodyne Acoustics, Morgan Hill, California DNF Out of race at 26 miles; LIDAR scanner failed, loose wire due to vibration.
12. Desert Rat Insight Racing North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina DNF Out of race at 26 miles
13. Xboxx Mojavaton Grand Junction, Colorado DNF Out of race at 23.5 miles
14. Golem 2 The Golem Group/UCLA Los Angeles, California DNF Out of race at 22 miles; software bug crashed main computer causing 60 mph rampage
15. CajunBot Team Cajunbot University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana DNF Out of race at 17 miles; The motor on the brake actuator burned out when vehicle was paused for about fifty minutes.
16. RASCAL SciAutonics/Auburn Engineering Thousand Oaks, California DNF Out of race at 16 miles; software problems
17. Desert Tortoise Intelligent Vehicle Safety Technologies Littleton, Colorado DNF Out of race at 14 miles, instability in steering controller caused robot to drive offroad for a power pole.
18. NaviGATOR Team CIMAR University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida DNF Out of race at 14 miles; faulty reporting of GPS accuracy caused robot to drive into a bush, where a bug in "blocked path" logic left vehicle unable to recover.[1]
19. Prospect Eleven Princeton University Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey DNF Out of race at 10 miles. A code bug slowed down steering and throttle control, sending the robot looping in circles and narrowly missing a clump of reporters.
20. Spider Team Cornell Cornell University, Ithaca, New York DNF Out of race at 9 miles; when pause applied, rolled up against a guard rail; when unpaused, could not back away from rail since it had no functional backing software
21. Alice Team Caltech California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California DNF Out of race at 8 miles; after GPS reacquisition, veered over barrier and towards media
22. JackBot MonsterMoto Cedar Park, Texas DNF Out of race at 7 miles
23. The Meteor Mitre Meteorites MITRE, McLean, Virginia DNF Out of race at 1 mile; dust interfered with sensors causing false positive obstacle detection

DNF = Did Not Finish

Team sites[edit]

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Technology[edit]

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