Archive for March, 2004

Team CajunBot celebrates with a BBQ

Thursday, March 25th, 2004

Thanks to Patrick and Rita Landry, Team CajunBot will celebrate its journey with a BBQ. Patrick and Rita will host the team at their residence. Now that we have had a break of 10 days, this event will start off the next phase of the project. We have gained considerable momentum in the past few months. We will get our heads together to see how to leverage that momentum.

Arun Lakhotia

CajunBot delayed – Will arrive on Monday

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

Due to some mechanical problems with the trailer, CajunBot will be delayed. We are expecting her to arrive on Monday, March 22, at 1:30pm.

Arun Lakhotia

Correction: CajunBot arriving Thursday, 1:30 at Dupre Library

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

CajunBot will arrive at Dupre Library on Thursday at 1:30pm. She will be on display until the rest of the day.

Arun Lakhotia

Correction: CajunBot arriving Thursday, 1:30pm

Wednesday, March 17th, 2004

CajunBot will be arriving on Thursday, 1:30pm at Abdalla Hall. Earlier I had incorrectly announced arrival for Wednesday.

Arun Lakhotia

Team CajunBot back home, CajunBot on her way

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

Team CajunBot arrived at Lafayette airport as scheduled. They were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Dr. Steve Landry, Vice President Academic Affairs, UL Lafayette and Channel 10 TV. CajunBot is on its way, being driven by CajunBot Chase Team – Watson ‘Trouble’ Arnold, aDam Dupre, and Danny Majors. They are scheduled to arrive in Lafayette on Wednesday. I will post their expeted time of arrival soon.

Arun Lakhotia

Team CajunBot thanks C&C Technologies

Monday, March 15th, 2004

Its been an incredible ride, one that would not have been possible without C&C Technologies (www.cctechnol.com). Early in September 2003 when we were still toying with the idea of participating in the Grand Challenge, C&C provided us with a C-NAV differential GPS system, the blue dome on CajunBot. This system has 10cm accuracy, a great improvement over 1m accuracy of garden-variety GPS. In February, C&C went a step further with the POS/MV Inertial Navigation System. This system added two more GPS to CajunBot, the round white plates at the front and back. Using the three GPS, we could CajunBot can accurately sense its location, heading (direction), roll, pitch, and speed over ground. The equipment provided by C&C is valued at around $130K. But their most valuable contribution went beyond that. C&C also permitted Pablo Mejia and Curtis Calloway, engineers with C&C, to work on this project. Pablo brought with him enormous experience in navigating autonomous submarines and boats. Within a week of joining us, Pablo assumed the key role, developing software to get data from the sensors, to control the actuators, and to drive CajunBot in desired direction. The success of CajunBot could not have been possible without participation of C&C and Pablo Mejia.

Arun Lakhotia

Majors family delights all with Crawfish feast

Sunday, March 14th, 2004

Its all well that ends well. Especially, if it ends with a great feast. Thanks to the Majors family (Ray, Mark, Danny, and Anthony Majors), Team CajunBot closed the DARPA Grand Challenge with a Crawfish feast for all attendees. On the opening day, Clotiel, the 6ft crawfish from Begnaud Manufacturing (www.begno.com) was the center of attraction. While it was attractive, people commented that they’d rather have the real thing. Danny Majors, member of Team CajunBot Chase Team, took the comments to heart. He got the phones ringing for crawfish tails, Louisiana Crawfish tails not the Chinese variety, but could not find any in the vicinity. He had to go back to his tried and favorite: Tony’s Seafood of Baton Rouge. Tony’s was excited about the opportunity to delight folks with Louisiana crawfish, and readily offered tails on cost. Louisiana Crawfish goes well with Louisiana Rice. There was none such available in the local stores. The task of bringing rice and crawfish to California fell to Ray, Mark, and Anthony Majors. They picked 15 lbs of crawfish tails, 20 lbs of long grain rice, a 30 lb metal cooking pot, and other assortment of pots, and proceeded to the airport. At check-in the found their package had exceeded the weight limit and would have to pay an arm and a leg. The quick thinking Majors pulled out the bags of rice, put them under their arms, and said, “Well this is our carry on baggage.” The news of crawfish arrival spread rather fast. Every now and then we’d hear people say, “Are you really cooking crawfish?,” followed by “when,” and “where.” As the Challenge came to a sudden halt, the action shifted to cooking crawfish. The Majors sped ahead and setup a tent in the parking lot of Buffalo Bill’s Hotel and Resort. The tent was not too far from DARPA’s exhibit area. By 6:30pm on Sunday, shortly after the press conference, the Med Express tent started humming. The word was still spreading, literally through word of ‘mouth’, as people walked around with bowls filled with rice and etouffe. Dr. Tony Tethers, head of DARPA, and his wife relished the food, as did Col. Jose Negron, the person in charge of DARPA Grand Challenge, and program managers from DARPA. The tent was also filled with journalists, some asking if they could invite themselves. Within an hour the pot was squeaky clean. The rice was all gone. In one day Team CajunBot and MedExpress showcased Louisiana to the rest of the world. We can compete with the best in technology, and then beat them all with great food.

Arun Lakhotia

Lafayette Motors C&C Technologies MedExpress Firefly Digital

Team CajunBot returning on March 15

Sunday, March 14th, 2004

Most members of Team CajunBot will be returning to Lafayette (airport) on March 15 at 10:30pm. Scott Wilson will return today, March 14 evening. Muralidar Chakravarthi will return to Baton Rouge by the red-eye.

Arun Lakhotia

All bots out within 8 miles

Sunday, March 14th, 2004

All fifteen bots were out within 8 miles. The bots of Carnegie Mellon University and SciAutonics II went the furthest. Team DAD’s bot went six miles, and that of Golem Group five miles. The bots of Team CalTech, SciAutonics, and Team TerraMax completed one mile. CajunBot and the remaining seven bots did not complete a mile.
Final status of the teams
Arun Lakhotia

CajunBot and five other bots out

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

Well folks, CajunBot is out of the competition. She started out well, but for reasons we are still investigating, had a little extra veer to the right. As it started out of the track, due to the extra veer it hit against the concrete boulders. The impact hit the emergency stop button on the bot, which turned it off. CajunBot was seventh to get out of the chute. Of the six ahead of it, only two were still running. The bot immediately after CajunBot sped out of the chute but shortly therefater flipped over. We have mixed emotions. We are happy that we made it this far and sad that we stopped too short out of the line.

Arun Lakhotia