Day 3 performance, thumbs down

October 29, 2007 (1322 hrs), VICTORVILLE, CA – Our Day 3 performance was not really good, but we knew the issues going in. We still need to take care of a few things, before we’d be ready for passing this test.

In this test, held in Area B, the bot is expected to get out of a start chute, navigate an open space, go through a narrow winding lane bounded by massive K-rails, drive around a traffic circle, and then drive into a very convoluted neighborhood. We do not know what all goes in the neighborhood, but the general guess is that it has stalled vehicles parked on the side of the roads. The bot needs to safely travel through that area, avoiding rear ending any vehicle.  In this area is a parking lot. The bot has to find a designated parking spot, not run into vehicles parked into adjacent lanes, and then get out of the parking lot. Finally, in the area is an ‘obstacle zone.’ This is an open space, with barricades forming a gate. The vehicle has to find the gate and go through it.

CajunBot had trouble right out of the start chute. It was stumped by all the K-rails along the border of the open area, and decided not to budge. After two unsuccessful attempts, Suresh did some quick thinking and made some changes. That made CajunBot, go past the initial hesitation, travel through the winding lane, and onto the traffic circle.

Just short of completing the traffic circle, CajunBot came to a stop. For a few minutes you could see her attempting to take off, but stopping again. The trouble shooting team, consisting of Mark and Suresh, were rushed to the site. They attempted a few things, but nothing helped. By then we were out of our alloted 40 minutes.

The good news is DARPA announced a second round of tests in the remaining 2.5 days (Monday PM to Wednesday PM). Earlier they had announced the schedule only through Monday AM. We expected that after the first round of tests in the three areas, some teams will be selected as having passed the tests, and others will be given another go. It turns out all the teams are scheduled to run in the second round of tests. I can infer that to mean that there is clearly no perfect performer.

Inspite of all the long hours, the team is holding up well. Everyone is stretched to the limits, but no one is cracking. There are no outbursts, or name callings, or “I want my mommy” calls.

The clock is still on, and we intend to keep hustling.

– Arun Lakhotia

4 Responses to “Day 3 performance, thumbs down”


  2. Your pictures looked good in The Daily Advertiser today. You guys looked very enthusiastic. Great Teamwork!

  3. Emily Duhon says:

    Great teamwork!! Good Luck guys….Lafayette is proud of you all.

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