Autonomous Robotic Vehicles Speed Away with Agilent's Development Tools

3/2/2004 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced that its system development software has helped speed the design of the University of California, Berkeley's entry in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge race of autonomous robotic vehicles. UC Berkeley's Blue Team's motorcycle entry, the first two-wheel vehicle to be entered into the race, was developed by a team of 19 students who had no previous experience designing physical test systems. Agilent Visual Engineering Environment (VEE) Pro's simple-to-use graphical interface enabled the team to quickly create test systems and immediately collect and analyze performance data.

The Grand Challenge for autonomous robotic vehicles, organized by the U.S. Department of Defense's DARPA, is intended to spur development of autonomous robotic ground vehicle technology for military applications. The first Grand Challenge race is scheduled for March 13, 2004, and will cover a course of approximately 200 miles between Barstow, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev. The team that completes the route the fastest in less than the prescribed time will receive a cash prize of $1 million.

"Agilent VEE Pro exceeded our expectations," said Anthony Levandowski, team lead for the UC Berkeley Grand Challenge research project. "Research team members used VEE Pro to create a working environment in hours versus weeks. VEE Pro helped us solve problems quickly, and its graphical interface minimized programming, making it very simple to use."

The Blue Team chose a two-wheeled vehicle design over a four-wheeled design because its smaller, lighter structure provides increased mobility, particularly at higher speeds, and it is less expensive to develop and deploy. The challenge with the unmanned motorcycle design is keeping it upright while stationary and in motion.

To address this challenge, the team used a control moment gyroscope to stabilize the motorcycle, and a Crossbow solid-state gyro and inertial measurement unit, which measures speed and pitch, to provide the data needed for stabilization at high speeds. Agilent's support of the team included donating VEE Pro test system development software that was used to model the physical parameters of the control moment gyroscope during development, and rapidly prototype the high-speed stabilization control model.

"The UC Berkeley Blue Team is made up of people from a wide variety of disciplines, so it was imperative that they have easy-to-use tools for designing and testing their entry," said Mark Pierpoint, vice president of Agilent's Measurement and Analysis Software Group. "VEE Pro's graphical user interface and industry-standard programming environment makes it easy for anyone to develop a test system and get results quickly. We are excited to sponsor the Blue Team by providing test software that helped them build their autonomous motorcycle in record time."

About Agilent VEE Pro
Agilent VEE Pro is an easy-to-use standards-based software environment that helps speed development of measurement and control, analysis, test-system and data-acquisition applications in industries including aerospace and defense, wireless, and consumer electronics. Agilent VEE Pro intuitively simplifies all the tasks required for test system development. VEE Pro uses an open standard graphical user interface environment to handle all common measurement tasks in design and manufacturing, including connecting instruments, measurement, analysis and reporting.

Further Information
Information about the Agilent VEE Pro is available at
Information about the UC Berkeley Grand Challenge autonomous motorcycle research project is available at
Information about the DARPA challenge is available at

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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