SciAutonics - Auburn Engineering's Low Cost, High Speed ATV for the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge


This paper presents a summary of SciAutonics-Auburn Engineering’s efforts in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The areas discussed in detail include the team makeup and strategy, vehicle choice, software architecture, vehicle control, navigation, path planning, and obstacle detection. In particular, the advantages and complications involved in fielding a low budget ATV are presented. Emphasis is placed on detailing the methods used for high speed control, customized navigation, and a novel stereo vision system. The platform chosen required a highly accurate model and a well tuned navigation system in order to meet the demands of the Grand Challenge. Overall, the vehicle completed three out of four runs at the National Qualification Event and traveled 16 miles in the Grand Challenge before a hardware failure disabled operation. The performance in the events is described, along with a success and failure analysis.