Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Volkswagen Takes Wraps off Robotic Passat for 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Volkswagen of America and Stanford University on Monday unveiled a one-of-a-kind diesel Passat wagon loaded up with high-tech features and nicknamed "Junior" The vehicle is bound for the November DARPA Urban Challenge, which pits unpiloted vehicles against one another in a race to develop smarter cars.

Volkswagen Robotic Passat The Passat wagon follows in the treads of "Stanley," a VW Touareg that defeated 22 other unmanned vehicles in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge.

"Junior" takes its name from Leland Stanford, Jr., the founder of Stanford University. The wagon is equipped with software developed at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab. Other high-tech gear includes Intel Core 2 Duo processors, including multiple processing units per chip. Junior also has electromechanical power steering and an electric throttle, gear shifter and parking brake. VW says these electric systems have been modified to make the car "completely computer controllable."

"We see an opportunity to further advance intelligent technologies for use in passenger vehicles of the future," said Carlo Rummel, executive director of VW of America's Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California. "The features developed for the Urban Challenge will ultimately make driving safer and more enjoyable in today's increasingly dense traffic."

The 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge will be held on November 3 on a 60-mile "mock urban" course that includes merging with traffic, crossing traffic circles and tackling busy intersections.

© Source: article on insideline
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