Optech Incorporated, the global leader in the development and manufacture of laser-based survey instruments, has teamed with Team Mojavaton to introduce truly advanced lidar imaging techniques to the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005.
The DARPA Grand Challenge is a competition and field test over rugged desert terrain, to accelerate research and development in autonomous robotic ground vehicles. Optech's ILRIS-3D Intelligent Laser Ranging and Imaging System is being incorporated as a key component in the sensor array of Team Mojavaton's 2005 entry, a Nissan Xterra (dubbed the "Xboxx") autonomous vehicle. No remote control is permitted. Once the vehicles leave the starting line, they must rely exclusively on their on-board sensors , navigation instruments, and computers to "see" the terrain ahead and follow the course to the finish line 150 miles away.
The knowledge gained through this exercise will further drive the understanding and deployment of autonomous vehicle sensor subsystems for Optech's already proven leadership in lidar technologies.
At the first DARPA Grand Challenge, held in March 2004, 15 vehicles operating autonomously attempted a 142-mile route through the Mojave Desert. Since no vehicle was able to complete the route, DARPA is hosting this second Grand Challenge event. None of these vehicles completed the course, so the $1,000,000 went unclaimed. The second Grand Challenge will take place on Saturday, October 9, 2005. The location has only been announced as "somewhere in the California/Nevada desert area." The prize for the fastest vehicle to complete the course in less than 10 hours will be $2,000,000 this time.
Source: Optech, Feb. 1, 2005