From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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".[1] Navlab 5 notably steered itself almost all the way from Pittsburgh to San Diego.


Research on computer controlled vehicles began at Carnegie Mellon in 1984[1] as part of the DARPA Strategic Computing Initiative[2] and production of the first vehicle, Navlab 1, began in 1986.[3]


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."[4]

Several types of vehicles have been developed, including "... robot cars, vans, SUVs, and buses."[1]


The institute has made vehicles with the designations Navlab 1 through 10.[4] The vehicles were mainly semi-autonomous, though some were fully autonomous and required no human input.[4]

Navlab 1 was built in 1986 using a Chevrolet panel van.[3] The van had 5 racks of computer hardware, including 3 Sun workstations, video hardware and GPS receiver, and a Warp supercomputer.[3] 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).[3]

Navlab 2 was built in 1990 using a US Army HMMWV.[3] 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".[3] 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)[3]

Navlab 1 and 2 were semi-autonomous and used "... steering wheel and drive shaft encoders and an expensive inertial navigation system for position estimation."[3]

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.[5][6][7] In 2007, Navlab 5 was added to the Class of 2008 inductees of the Robot Hall of Fame.[8]

Navlabs 6 and 7 were both built with Pontiac Bonnevilles. Navlab 8 was built with an Oldsmobile Silhouette van. Navlabs 9 and 10 were both built out of Houston transit buses.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Navlab: The Carnegie Mellon University Navigation Laboratory". The Robotics Institute. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Robotics History: Narratives and Networks Oral Histories: Chuck Thorpe". Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Todd Jochem; Dean Pomerleau; Bala Kumar & Jeremy Armstrong (1995). "PANS: A Portable Navigation Platform". The Robotics Institute. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Overview". NavLab. The Robotics Institute. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  5. ^ "Look, Ma, No Hands". Carnegie Mellon University. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  6. ^ Freeman, Mike (3 April 2017). "Connected Cars: The long road to autonomous vehicles". Center for Wireless Communications. Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  7. ^ Jochem, Todd. "Back to the Future: Autonomous Driving in 1995 - Robotics Trends". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  8. ^ "THE 2008 INDUCTEES". The Robot Institute. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  9. ^ Shirai, Yoshiaki; Hirose, Shigeo (2012). Attention and Custom for Safe Behavior. Robotics Research: The Eighth International Symposium. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 249. ISBN 978-1447115809.

External links[edit]