Day 1 didn’t go as well….

October 28, 2007 (0933 hrs), VICTORVILLE, CA.  — You’ve not heard from me in 24 hrs, and I am sure you guessed that cannot be good news. Our performance in Test Area C was sub par. CajunBot goofed up on things we have tested over and over again, and didn’t complete one task we knew she may have difficulty.

The moment we finished (rather, did not finish) the test, we went into a huddle. Analyzed the reasons, and then started focusing on the next test today in Area A. This one is going to be a killer. Almost everyone has been working through the night. That makes it two nights barely with any sleep for several members — Pablo, Suresh, Mark, John, Chandan, and Dallas.

Here is a quick summary of what happened in Test Area C. The area is a ring with two 4-way stops (intersections) on opposite end. The bot is expected to go around the ring, and at each 4-way stop she is met with other traffic vehicles. She has to maintain the rules of a ‘stop’ sign, give precedence to other vehicles that come before it.

This capability was tested  few months ago in the site visit, and we test it routinely.

CajunBot did well for the first two interactions at the stops. In the third interaction, there were three vehicles already at the intersection. She let two vehicles go, but then took before the third vehicle moved. This was a complete surprise to us.

After that the behavior kept getting worse. A similar scenario was created in the next stop. This time CajunBot almost kissed the bumper of the car ahead. In the next loop, she was riding the curb and didn’t care of any other vehicle at the stop sign. You kind of get a feeling she was irritated to be given such stupid test.

As the loop progressed she was to encounter a blockage in the road and expected to turn around. This is also something she has done many times. But this time around, she just went stopped in front of the blockage and decided not to move.

That was the end of the test, for the bot would not progress any further.

What caused this misbehavior? Our analysis indicates two things: first, it looks like after two loops the bot began experiencing a GPS drift, which essentially means she was shifting the middle of the road about two feet to the right (in some situations). That made her ride the curb. Second, we have never tested in a situation like this before. All our tests are in wide open spaces. This is the first time we are testing in a real neighborhood. The main difference now is that our sensors pick up a lot, lot more data in this environment. In the process something has tripped.

More on this later… I need to rush out to the test area.

– Arun Lakhotia

One Response to “Day 1 didn’t go as well….”

  1. You guys have gone further than anyone could ever hoped. Think Positive. You have brought a lot of good publicity to Louisiana and have made us proud to call this our home.

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