CajunBot survives problems

Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Oct 30 2007

VICTORVILLE Calif. — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Team CajunBot finished its third day of qualifying Monday for the 2007 Urban Challenge which pits robotic vehicles against each other in a city street setting.

This is the third challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense in which Team CajunBot has competed.

CajunBot II — the robotic Jeep outfitted with a variety of sensors and computers — had a hiccup Monday but team members said they believe they will be able to sort out the issues when the qualifying event continues today.

“We’ve gotten a lot further this morning than a lot of other bots ” Scott Wilson Team CajunBot adviser said in a release. “It’s not about pass or fail in qualifying rounds. It’s how you solve problems you encounter.”

The team has spent a lot of sleepless nights this weekend making last minute adjustments based on a simulation program that tracks all of CajunBot II’s movements.

Qualifying is taking place at the former George Air Force Base in California.

The 2007 Urban Challenge is designed to spur innovation in robotic vehicles that can be used in urban combat zones.

The previous two challenges in 2004 and 2005 were designed for desert environments.

In the urban challenge the robotic vehicles must negotiate streets with traffic while abiding by traffic laws.

During a trial Monday CajunBot II had a problem when the road was reduced from two lanes to one. “We’re going to go back and look at the data we have. We’ll make the necessary adjustments and then begin planning for tomorrow’s qualifying round ” Wilson said.

On Sunday officials with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced additional qualifying rounds. Each team will once again run through the three testing areas.

Today CajunBot II must react to oncoming traffic in intersections. Finalists for the 2007 Urban Challenge are expected to be announced Thursday.

The top 20 teams will compete against one another Saturday. The first team to finish the race will receive $2 million with second place receiving $1 million and third $500 000.

Team CajunBot is one of 36 teams competing to qualify for Saturday’s main event.

Team CajunBot is made up of 17 team members who are students and faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and members of the Acadiana community.

Sponsors for CajunBot II include SICK Ibeo Oxford Technology Services Hewlett-Packard C&C Technologies Lafayette Motors Med Express Ambulance Service Firefly Digital and ULL.

For more information or to watch Saturday’s event live visit http://www.grandchallenge.org.

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