RASCAL - An Autonomous Ground Vehicle for Desert Driving in the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005


The DARPA Grand Challenge is a competition of autonomous ground vehicles in the Mojave desert, with a prize of $2M for the winner. This event was organized in 2004 and will be held annually at least until 2007, until a team wins the prize. The teams are coming from various background, but the rule that no US government funding or technology that was created with US government funding could be used for this competition, prevented some of the well established players to participate. The team SciAutonics/Auburn-Engineering continues their effort to build a system for participation in this challenge, based on the 2004 entry RASCAL. The main focus in the system design is on improvements of the design from 2004. Novel sensing modalities the team plans to use in 2005, are a stereo vision system and a radar system for obstacle detection. Offline simulation allows to analyze situations in the laboratory and to replay recordings from sensors. The Grand Challenge 2005 will take place on October 8, and the SciAutonics/Auburn team intends to compete with the improved RASCAL system.