October 28, 2007 (1533 hrs), VICTORVILLE, CA. — CajunBot went through the test of fire, and came out looking real good. Its been a great 36 hrs day for many, in particular, Little John, and now he is too excited to fall asleep.The test in Area A is plain and simple scary. The track consists of a two lane (one each way) rectangular road, about 120m long and 40m wide. Across the middle of the long segment, top to bottom, runs a one lane road.
The test setup consists of 10 (may be more) cars making laps around the course, five in the inside loop and five in the outside loop.
CajunBot (as are other vehicles) is given the mission to loop around as well, but she does not travel the full rectangle. Instead she is supposed cut across the rectangle, along the one lane road.
The vehicles in the outer loop have the right of way.
The test requirement is that when CajunBot turns left from the outerloop to the one lane segment, she has to yield to the traffic in the oncoming lane. When she makes the next left turn from the one lane segment to the outer loop, she has to yield to the traffic coming from the left and the right.
The traffic flows around 8 to 12 miles/hour.
The traffic vehicles is manned by race car drivers. They are driving specially built with amazing amount of reinforcement. The drivers too are in full race-car regalia, with helmets and suites designed for race car driving.
The evaluation is based on number of loops completed in the 40 minutes alloted, the number of loops made without any safety error. There is penalty for making the other drivers honk. There is also a penalty for taking too long to merge into traffic.
I forget the number of loops CajunBot did, but it was in double digits (around 15, or more). Over six of those loops were flawless. (I didn’t keep track of the count. The experience was too gut wrenching to worry about counting loops.)
The grapevine has it that our performance is amongst the top quartile.
The team is very upbeat, and feeling really good about the accomplishments. If only you knew how hard this team has worked every single day since arriving in California you’d not believe it.
I am so glad that Adrian “Fatty” Aucoin is here. After retiring CajunBot (the mama), we had thought we’d never have to haul a bot in a trailer. We sure were wrong. We really do not want to be driving a $2MM car in normal traffic. One fender bender, and we’d be history. So we have rented a flat bed car hauler. Fatty is a pro in hauling the trailer. He also serves as one of the drivers during traffic tests.
Besides renting a car hauler, we have rented another RV, a small one. This will serve as a ‘nap mobile’ for the team, especially useful when the team is working in the field. It came in real handy last night. I got to take a nap in it at from 0400 to 0600 (hrs).
Tomorrow we test in Area B. This is the longest test, and has some really interesting situations. Tonight will be another long night.
After today’s performance, we have a chance to be back in the running for the final. Tomorrow’s test is very crucial.
I need to run to a team meeting. After the meeting several members will go to bed, and others will head to work.
– Arun Lakhotia