Grad student Brett Leedy explains traits of the 2004 vehicle.
Cliff was the joking name that Virginia Tech’s student team picked when they entered DARPA’s grand Challenge, a race through the desert between LA and Las Vegas. The autonomous vehicle might have had to climb a cliff, or may have fallen off one.
But instead, the vehicle went only 200 yards before its brakes locked up. Still, that was good enough to earn 7th place in the harsh contest. Now, the team is preparing for the second Grand Challenge in October, 2005, which now has a $2 million prize. But instead of having a high-grade golf cart chassis, the forthcoming model may well be built on a Cadillac chassis. “Cadillac has donated an SUV, and we’ve also been given a four-wheel ATV. Right now we’re preparing to move forward with both,” says Brett Leedy, a mechanical engineer who’s now a first year graduate student.
The experience will bring both improved knowledge and more corporate donations. Technology will also be more advanced, and more rugged. “Now we have three PXI chassis, but in ’05 we’ll use CompactRIO,” Leedy adds. CompactRIO is a new chassis technology unveiled by National Instruments during NIWeek.
The vehicle is being developed largely by undergrad students, many involved with Virginia Tech’s Joint Unmanned System Test Experimentation and Research Site (Jousters) in Blacksburg, VA base. That group also competes in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, an international gathering limited to colleges. That vehicle has more sensors and vehicle controls than the Grand Challenge vehicle,” Leedy says. Software from the IGVC vehicle can be used by the DARPA racer, but hardware for the 150 mile race through the desert is vastly different than the IGVC, which goes 600 feet across a grassy track.
Cliff’s computer controls will evolve from 3 PXI chassis to CompactRIO technology.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.