The decision for the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007 has been made. 36 driverless autos will be competing at the NQE (National Qualification Event) in the USA from October 26 to 31 to qualify for the finals of the world’s only autonomous automobile race. One of them will be LUX, the lynx vehicle of the German Team-LUX. The announcement was made in Anaheim, California.
A total of 53 teams and their vehicles were tested by the race organizers in the USA during the so-called site visits in June and July 2007. LUX, the lynx demonstrated its driving skills in Auburn / Alabama on June 29 and mastered the demands of the test scenarios within the designated time with no trouble. The tests included complex tasks such as crossing intersections with the typically American four-way stops, oncoming traffic, obstacles, U-turns, and passing maneuvers. The technical director of the Team-LUX, Holger Salow, was delighted about the success: “Our LUX performed magnificently during even the most difficult tasks, so we think we have an excellent chance to win the competition.”
Soon possible even in normal road traffic
What makes LUX, the lynx so special: it is a completely normal road vehicle. Three small laser scanners and a computer installed in the trunk are enough to steer the car safely. This technical masterpiece is made possible by the high-tech laser technology from the Hamburg company Ibeo. The technology is almost ready for mass production and could be realized in a normal passenger car even today.
The next steps
The National Qualification Event will be held in Victorville, Calif. from October 26 to 31. The participating teams must complete a number of different missions and scenarios. The finalists emerging from this round will participate in the main race on November 3, 2007.
About Team LUX
Team LUX is a cooperative venture of the German laser technology company Ibeo Automobile Sensor GmbH and SICK AG. At the Urban Challenge 2007, the team intends to produce evidence that intelligent technology for enhanced traffic safety is ready for series production and can be realized in normal cars today.
About the Darpa Urban Challenge
At the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007, vehicles driving completely autonomously will compete in a race in a US city on November 3. The course is 60 miles long; the winners can collect a purse of US-$2 million. The preliminary races will be held at the National Qualification Event on October 26 – 31. The event organizer is the DARPA Research Agency of the American Department of Defense. The Urban Challenge is the third autonomous automobile race, following the races carried out in the American Mojave Desert in 2004 and 2005.