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Update from DARPA

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  • Paul F. Grayson
    Fellow team members and interested parties, We have submitted the technical papers for our three vehicles AV ANDREA MORGAN, AV SYDNEY BRISTOW, and AV WENDY
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2003
      Fellow team members and interested parties,

      We have submitted the technical papers for our three vehicles AV ANDREA
      MORGAN, AV SYDNEY BRISTOW, and AV WENDY DARLING.... and are waiting to see
      if they get kicked back to us for a fifth revision. We continue to forge
      ahead while waiting for DARPA's reply.

      Here is a plain text copy of the most recent letter to all team leaders from
      DARPA about the race:

      ----- start letter -----

      Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
      3701 North Fairfax Drive
      Arlington, VA 22203-1714 September 30, 2003

      Grand Challenge Entrants and Participants,

      Welcome to our new teams! The number of applicants continues to grow along
      with the
      level of excitement generated by the Grand Challenge event. As recently as
      our February
      Competitors' Conference, I considered 20 participating teams a success.
      Today, I am
      pleased to announce that 71 teams have officially entered. Additionally,
      thanks to early
      submission of technical papers, two of our teams have been elevated to
      status, and more than 10 other teams are close to reaching this point. We
      others to follow their example.
      Congratulations to:
      SciAutonics I - RASCAL: http://www.sciautonics.com/
      Team Caltech: http://team.caltech.edu/
      Today's memo addresses five key areas:
      ?? First, the Bailment coordination has proceeded very well. We will have
      the revised
      document ready for everyone's signature no later than November 5 at the
      Entrants' Conference.
      ?? Secondly, the technical papers are coming in at a steady pace and look
      good. We
      appreciate your getting these papers in early.
      ?? Third, we are currently looking at revising the rules in order to update
      those areas
      that need more clarity.
      ?? Fourth, I will begin to describe some of the obstacles and boundaries you
      expect to see on the road. It is critical that each of you prepare for these
      navigational challenges.
      ?? Finally, our plans for the upcoming competitors' conference are taking
      shape, and
      we have initial details on the event.
      Bailment Coordination
      We appreciate the feedback that was received from the example bailment that
      was sent
      out on September 15. We are making some minor revisions and will send an
      version for your signature. Among other things, this document will allow us
      to issue
      government-furnished equipment to you, which is why it will need to be
      signed prior to
      receiving the E-Stop, currently scheduled for delivery at our November
      Technical Papers
      The October 14 deadline is drawing near. Our review team is working hard to
      review all
      technical papers that have been submitted. If your team submitted a
      technical paper, you
      should have received confirmation of its receipt within a few days. If not,
      please send an
      email to grandchallenge@....
      Rules Revisions
      The following revisions to the Rules are under consideration: Audible Warning - Vehicle Operating
      - Reduce the minimum sound pressure level required to 116dB (from
      2.3.16 Route Definition Data File
      - Change waypoint lat/long to decimal degrees with seven decimal places
      - Delete the remarks field
      - Include a few example lines
      1.5 General Procedures
      - Change date for DARPATech event to March 10, 2004 (from March 11)
      - Change requirement in first paragraph to "Participants may have the
      opportunity to display their vehicles at DARPATech" (from "Participants
      will display.")
      2.1.3 Safety Vehicle
      - Change name to "Control Vehicle", also in
      5.1.3 Sponsorship
      - Delete "and Safety Vehicles" since teams are no longer required to
      provide Safety (Control) Vehicles
      4.3.3 Technical Paper
      - Reword the third paragraph to be less ambiguous: "DARPA will treat the
      technical papers as team proprietary information in their entirety until the
      conclusion of the 2004 Challenge, at which time the papers will be
      available to the public. If a technical paper contains an attachment of
      information that is designated by the Team as proprietary information, that
      attachment will not be made public with the technical paper."
      8.7 Passing
      - Add the sentence "The burden of responsibility for collision avoidance
      shall fall primarily on the vehicle that is attempting to pass." to the
      If you have any questions or issues with these, please send an email to
      Course Obstacles and Road Boundaries
      Challenge Vehicles will face the following obstacles or boundaries along the
      route, some
      of which will be duplicated or simulated at the QID:
      Power Line Towers
      Barbed Wire Fences
      Railroad Crossings
      Highway Guardrails
      Plastic construction fencing (which we have referred to as "snow fencing")
      Concrete Barriers
      Metal Chain-linked Fences
      Metal Barrels
      Road Edge (both paved and dirt roads)
      Bushes and Plants indicating the road edge
      While this is not a comprehensive list, it is intended to give you a better
      idea of some of
      the environmental things Challenge Vehicles will need to sense in order to
      be successful,
      some of which were referred to in the February conference. Most of these
      will be a
      natural consequence of the Route, but some will be in place in order to
      assist the
      Challenge Vehicle or for safety. As described in the Rules, the lateral
      boundaries will
      define the area where a Challenge Vehicle will be allowed to operate,
      however, in order
      to be successful the Vehicle will at times need to find the road or trail
      within the lateral
      boundaries and stay on it.
      In some areas, there will be much latitude for the vehicle to choose its own
      path, such as
      open areas or dry lake beds. In these areas the lateral boundaries will be
      wide. In other areas, the Challenge Vehicle will be constrained to a
      particular road by
      narrow lateral boundaries. In these circumstances, the lateral boundaries
      will match the
      detectable road edge as close as possible. In areas where we feel there is
      not sufficient
      environmental queues to denote the road edge, we intend to place a manmade
      such as plastic construction fencing (snow fencing) or concrete barriers,
      the latter being
      the primary choice where safety is a concern.
      Examples of the terrain, road types, and natural road boundaries were given
      at the
      February conference and can be found online in the conference archive (under
      Schedule/Events) at: http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/conference_la.htm.
      realize that some of this is ambiguous and subject to interpretation,
      therefore more
      information will be presented at the November conference and time will be
      given for
      Competitors' Conference
      The next competitors' conference is tentatively scheduled for November 5
      thru 7th at the
      Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas. Teams with approved technical papers will have
      opportunity to meet with Grand Challenge organizers, learn more about the
      event and get
      answers to their questions about rules and other issues.
      We have scheduled the competitors' conference during the convention of the
      Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a major show for automotive aftermarket
      suppliers that we thought many of you will be interested in attending. SEMA
      has agreed
      to schedule a press briefing on Thursday, October 6 from 1:00-1:30 as part
      of its agenda
      of media events, which will offer a great opportunity for exposure with the
      press. Teams are welcome to participate in the press briefing. Please note
      that in order to
      accommodate the 1:00-1:30 press briefing slot assigned to us by SEMA, the
      afternoon session of the competitors' conference originally scheduled from
      1:00-5:00 will
      now take place from 2:00-6:00.
      Further information on the competitors' conference agenda is forthcoming,
      and we
      welcome your suggestions on the event. As always, if you have any questions,
      or general feedback, my staff and I can be reached at
      grandchallenge@..., or tollfree
      at 1-866-DARPA-GC (1-866-327-7242).
      Jose A. Negron, Col. USAF
      DARPA Grand Challenge Program Manager

      --------- end letter ------

      RACE DAY IS 3/13/04

      GO ROBOTS !

      Paul F. Grayson - Chief Engineer
      1829 Pinewood Ave.
      Traverse City, MI 49684

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