Navlab is a series of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles developed by teams from The Robotics Institute at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. Later models were produced under a new department created specifically for the research called "The Carnegie Mellon University Navigation Laboratory". Navlab 5 notably steered itself almost all the way from Pittsburgh to San Diego.
The vehicles in the Navlab series have been designed for varying purposes, "... off-road scouting; automated highways; run-off-road collision prevention; and driver assistance for maneuvering in crowded city environments. Our current work involves pedestrian detection, surround sensing, and short range sensing for vehicle control."
Several types of vehicles have been developed, including "... robot cars, vans, SUVs, and buses."
Navlab 1 was built in 1986 using a Chevrolet panel van. The van had 5 racks of computer hardware, including 3 Sun workstations, video hardware and GPS receiver, and a Warp supercomputer. The vehicle suffered from software limitations and was not fully functional until the late 80s, when it achieved its top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
Navlab 2 was built in 1990 using a US Army HMMWV. Computer power was uprated for this new vehicle with three Sparc 10 computers, "for high level data processing", and two 68000-based computers "used for low level control". The Hummer was capable of driving both off- or on-road. When driving over rough terrain, its speed was limited with a top speed of 6 mph (9.7 km/h). When Navlab 2 was driven on-road it could achieve as high as 70 mph (110 km/h)
Navlab 1 and 2 were semi-autonomous and used "... steering wheel and drive shaft encoders and an expensive inertial navigation system for position estimation."
Navlab 5 used a 1990 Pontiac Trans Sport minivan. In July 1995, the team took it from Pittsburgh to San Diego on a proof-of-concept trip, dubbed "No Hands Across America", with the system navigating for all but 50 of the 2850 miles, averaging over 60 MPH. In 2007, Navlab 5 was added to the Class of 2008 inductees of the Robot Hall of Fame.
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