Hyderabadi in Pentagon research project

Monday Oct 22 2007

The Hindu 

M. Sai Gopal

Achievers All: Suresh with the robotic vehicle.

HYDERABAD: A Hyderabad-born research scientist at the University of Louisiana Suresh Golconda is part of a prestigious self-directed motor vehicle race traversing a tough course from Los-Angeles to Las Vegas a length of 336 kilometres of rough terrain.

The race dubbed as DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) Urban Challenge is a vehicle research and development programme of Pentagon the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence with the goal of developing technology to keep foot soldiers off the battleground and out of harm. The race is to take place in November.

Suresh Golconda who is leading the software division for Louisiana team along with his team had developed the robotic vehicle ‘CajunBot’ which was selected to take part in the race.

A 2002 pass-out from Muffakham Jah College of Engineering Mr. Suresh is the brain behind the robotic vehicle. “I am working on the brain of the robot which keeps track of environment makes high level plans on its own on what roads to follow to touch all checkpoints and then what actions to perform for movement on the road. Decisions like when where and how to turn change lanes follow lanes park vehicles merge into traffic and driving in parking lots ” Mr. Suresh told The Hindu in an email. Three more Indians including Arun Lakhotia Amit Puntambekar and U. Chandan are also a part of the 15-member team from the University of Louisiana to take part in the race.

Proud of contribution

The four members of the team are quite proud of the ‘Indian contribution’ to the ongoing Pentagon programme to develop unmanned robotic vehicles. “Except for Chandan we three were also part of the race last held in 2005. Being Indians we are proud to be associated with such a path-breaking project ever to be taken up. Last time around our vehicle stood at 6th position and we hope to better it this time around ” Mr. Arun pointed out.

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