DARPA Selects Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing Team for Funding

BY Byron Spice - Mon, 2006-10-02 12:00  Printer-friendly version

PITTSBURGH— Carnegie Mellon University's Tartan Racing team is one of 11 teams that will receive technology development funds from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to help prepare for the agency's Urban Challenge event for autonomous vehicles.

Each of the 11 "track A" teams will receive up to $1 million from DARPA, with monies paid out in increments as the teams achieve milestones over the next year. More than 60 teams submitted proposals to DARPA for track A funding.

"This is excellent news," Chris Urmson, the team's technology leader, said of the selection as a track A team. "It means they have faith in our ability to meet the challenge."

Additional teams may compete through "track B," but will not receive funding from DARPA.

The Urban Challenge is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2007. The event will require driverless vehicles to negotiate 60 miles of streets in a mock urban setting, somewhere in the western United States.

In addition to Tartan Racing, the track A teams include: Autonomous Solutions of Young Ward, Utah, California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, The Golem Group of Santa Monica, Calif., Honeywell Aerospace Advanced Technolog, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oshkosh Truck Corp., Raytheon, Stanford University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Tartan Racing, with General Motors as premier sponsor, will enter a driverless Chevy Tahoe in the competition. Two autonomous Tahoes will be prepared; one has arrived and is now being equipped with computers, sensors and other gear, while the other continues to undergo retrofitting by GM. Urmson said he expects the team will have the first vehicle operating autonomously by Oct. 25.

Other sponsors of Tartan Racing include Caterpillar, Applanix, Continental AG, Google and Intel. For more information about the team, visit the Web site at www.tartanracing.org.

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