Robotic Autonomous Vehicles

Team RAV is an all volunteer group formed to respond to the DARPA Grand Challenge. The DARPA Grand Challenge is a race of fully autonomous, robotic vehicles from California to Las Vegas over various terrain. The next Grand Challenge will be held in August of 2005. The vehicle to complete the approximately 250 mile course in under 10 hours will be awarded a $2 million dollar prize.

The first Grand Challenge was held in March of this year. Although none of the unmanned vehicles successfully completed the course, priceless lessons were learned which will speed the technology development.

Team RAV is currently building a robotic vehicle to enter in next years challenge. Our robot racer will be an unmanned ground vehicle based on a four wheel drive SUV. Since this isour first autonomous vehicle, this should prove to be an exciting year. We are seeking sponsors and team members to participate in the 2005 challenge.

A quick story about the Grand Challenge. Racing is prohibited on various types of government land. So DARPA couldn't use the word race to describe the event. As a result, it is the Grand Challenge. Which is even better than DARPA Race. After all, imagine telling your SUV to drive from your home to a town 250 miles away. Then imagine standing in your driveway and watching it drive away just as you remember that you left your paycheck in the console.

For anyone who doesn't already know, other than pause and stop, autonomous robotic vehicles have absolutely no control once set upon their path. Now imagine your unmanned ground vehicle crossing the desert in search of the lights of Las Vegas. That's why they call it the Grand Challenge.

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