CajunBot ready for challenge

October 28 2007
The Daily Advertiser
Team competes with 34 others for $2M award
From staff reports

Qualifying for the Department of Defense's race of unmanned vehicles began Friday with UL's CajunBot team among the 35 contenders.

Qualifying continues through Wednesday.

Teams that move through the qualifying round will be eligible to participate in the $2 million Urban Challenge on Saturday at a military training base in Victorville Calif.
The qualifying event officially kicked off Friday at the Southern California Logistics Airport.

The race is sponsored by the DoD's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - DARPA.

"This is all about saving lives " said Tony Tether DARPA director.

"And even if you don't get the trophy you are all still winners for having been here in the first place."

UL's team were finalists for the challenge in 2004 and 2005.

The first two challenges were over desert terrain while Saturday's race will be on the training base to test the robots in an urban environment.

"We are once again pleased to participate in this challenge and represent the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the state of Louisiana " said Arun Lakhotia Team CajunBot leader.

"It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent we have at UL Lafayette and also in the community."

The Department of Defense created the challenge as a way to stimulate private research of autonomous vehicle technology for military ground operations - whether transporting supplies to scouting areas for soldiers.

Teams have six hours to complete the race. The first team to finish goes home with $2 million.

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