Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stanford Univerity/VWs "Junior" finishes the DARPA Challenge in 2nd place

Fresh news about VW and Standford University's placing in this year's DARPA Challenge. While Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University finished with their Chevy Tahoe "Boss" in first place to claim the $2 million dollar prize. Stanford still receives $1 million dollars for their respectable 2nd place finish. VW will also get some mileage out of the victory through advertisements and auto show tours with "Junior". Congrats to Standford and Volkswagen.
Official Press Release.

VICTORVILLE, Calif. – Volkswagen of America, Inc. has announced that the Stanford Racing Team’s clean diesel Passat wagon TDI, “Junior”, has scored a second place victory at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge. “Junior” was one of only six vehicles to complete this challenging urban course.

“The DARPA Challenge is a tough competition and the team has pulled together a vehicle and autonomous driving system that handled the best that the course could offer,” said Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, executive director, Electronics Research Laboratory, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Junior” was able to skillfully and safely negotiate the three missions in this extremely challenging urban environment, and we are very pleased with our results.”

“Stanley,” a Touareg TDI, was the ideal vehicle to contest and win the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, the ultimate off-road autonomous driving challenge. This years clean diesel Passat Wagon TDI, “Junior”, was the perfect urban vehicle and Urban Challenge contender; with plenty of room for a family or for the brains and brawn of an autonomously driven vehicle.

Team “Junior” was lead by Stanford with assistance from team partners Volkswagen of America, Red Bull, Intel, Google, MDV (Mohr Davidow Ventures), NXP and ApplAnix. University

The DARPA Urban Challenge is an autonomous driving challenge where vehicles traverse an urban environment for 60 miles – merging with moving traffic, navigating traffic circles and busy intersections, avoiding obstacles and finding parking spots. 167 teams entered DARPA’s initial "Site Visit" in early 2007, 35 were chosen to advance to the National Qualifying Event. Only six vehicles of the final 11 vehicles that advanced to the final round of the DARPA Urban Challenge completed this year’s competition.

Source: VW