Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle Races with Green Hills RTOS and Tools

3/9/2004 - Green Hills Software, Inc. announced that the SciAutonics LLC team will rely on the Green Hills Software's INTEGRITY real-time operating system (RTOS) and MULTI software development tools to drive their unmanned autonomous vehicle in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Products Agency) Grand Challenge race from Barstow, CA, to Primm, NV.

DARPA, a unit of the United States Department of Defense, will award a $1 million dollar cash prize to the team that can build an autonomous robotic ground vehicle and then finish first in a 210-mile race from the Los Angeles area to suburban Las Vegas. The race will include on-road and off-road navigation and must be completed in less than ten hours without the aid of any human intervention or remote control. GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates will direct the automobile to its final destination. The race will begin this Saturday, March 13.

The Grand Challenge is intended to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies for both military and civilian use. "DARPA, and other US agencies, are already funding numerous robotic vehicle development programs and this specific endeavor is targeted to find innovative solutions that are being tested in realistic conditions," said SciAutonics' president Reinhold Behringer. "This is something that has never been done on a scale this large."

The SciAutonics vehicle, dubbed RASCAL (Robust Autonomous Sensor Controlled All-terrain Land-vehicle) is built on the chassis of an all-terrain vehicle from ATV Corporation in Orange, CA.

The INTEGRITY RTOS is embedded on a PowerPC computer board and will control all essential functions of the vehicle, including acceleration, braking, shifting and steering. INTEGRITY was chosen for this mission because of its quick response time and guaranteed resource availability that permits instantaneous response. At high speeds, the RASCAL must rapidly respond to sensor information including what's in front, below or on the side of the vehicle. INTEGRITY adjusts driving controls with nanosecond response to keep the vehicle on course and avoid rocks, mountains and other road hazards.

"The INTEGRITY RTOS used in the RASCAL is the same secure operating system aboard most military aircraft, from the B-1B to the F-16 and the Joint Strike Fighter," said Green Hills Software vice president of engineering David Kleidermacher. "Our operating system technology is being used in many other applications from industrial process controllers to Internet routers and medical devices. The proven success of INTEGRITY in applications requiring guaranteed minimum response time and total reliability make it well-suited to the demands of SciAutonics' DARPA Challenge entry."

Each of the 25 teams entered in the DARPA Grand Challenge will be given a set of "way points" two hours before the start of the race. These GPS coordinates will guide the vehicles on a route that will include overpasses, railroad crossings and bridges, as well as navigation across sand, dirt and rocky terrain.

About SciAutonics
SciAutonics has no paid employees and all work is provided on a volunteer basis. "We could have spent a lot of time developing our own real-time operating system," said Behringer, "but it was much easier, and safer, to rely on this commercial, off-the-shelf technology. INTEGRITY is the central nervous system of our vehicle. We chose it because of its outstanding reputation in reliability, safety and security. We needed an RTOS we could count on and one which would save us both time and money."

About Green Hills Software
Founded in 1982, Green Hills Software Inc. is the technology leader for real-time operating systems and software development tools for 32- and 64-bit embedded systems. Our royalty-free INTEGRITY RTOS, compilers, MULTI and AdaMULTI integrated development environments and Green Hills TimeMachine debugger, offer a complete development solution that addresses both deeply embedded and high-reliability applications. Green Hills Software is headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA, with European headquarters in the United Kingdom.

Green Hills Software, the Green Hills logo, MULTI, INTEGRITY, AdaMULTI and TimeMachine are trademarks or registered trademarks of Green Hills Software, Inc. in the U.S. and/or internationally. North American Sales Contact: Green Hills Software, Inc., 30 West Sola Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, Tel: 805-965-6044, Fax: 805-965-6343, Website: www.ghs.com, Email: sales@ghs.com.International Sales Contact: Green Hills Software Ltd., Dolphin House, St. Peter Street, Winchester Hampshire SO23 8BW, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0)1962 829820, Fax: +44 (0)1962 890300, Email: mktg-europe@ghs.com.

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