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Published:December 30th, 2006 10:30 EST
The Ohio State University Autonomous Team

The Ohio State University Autonomous Team

By Ashley Mathews

The third time may be a charm for the Ohio State Autonomous City Transportation team to develop an intelligent vehicle for the U.S Department of Defense.

The College of Engineering has met the qualifications for the U.S. Department of Defense's autonomous vehicle competition for the third time. The Autonomous City Transportation team is one of 89 competitors chosen for the competition. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will host the Urban Challenge.

"In this kind of large scale, multidiscipline project, the experience alone is good enough and many real-life challenges during the course of development will help me put my theoretical knowledge into perspective," said Arda Kurt, a graduate student in engineering and a member of the Autonomous Transportation team.

The team will convert a Toyota Highlander into a robotic vehicle that will demonstrate advanced cruise control, automated steering control for lane keeping and autonomous behavior - including automated stopping and lane changes in reaction to other vehicles.

During the Urban Challenge, fully-autonomous ground vehicles will conduct replicated military supply missions in a mock urban area. The final event will be held Nov. 3, 2007 at an undisclosed location in the western United States.

In this event vehicles will be given six hours to navigate through a 60-mile traffic course, under its own computer-based control. DARPA's goal for the competition is to further the development of autonomous vehicle technology for the Department of Defense.

The Autonomous Transportation team consists of about 20 faculty and student members who are dedicated to making this possible.

"The Urban Challenge takes about half of my time as a GRA," Kurt said.

All of the students involved are in an engineering program, but Umit Ozguner, a professor in engineering and team leader, would love to have students from outside engineering.

"I've recently been working on the high-level decision-making process of the vehicle," Kurt said. In this decision-making process, thinking rationally about the goals of the vehicle is important.

 

 

I'm trying to anticipate reactions to reach the goals is an important part of the overall problem," he said.

Kurt said the process of building the robotics vehicle does not end with just the qualification approval from U.S. Department of Defense. The process of getting to the final event is drawn out by a series of tests given by DARPA, which are graded accordingly.

Going through the process, however, can be very beneficial in the long run.

In 2005, the teams ION vehicle took 10th place in the Grand Challenge, which was in the Mojave Desert near Primm, Nev. Unfortunately the Stanford Racing team finished first taking home a cash prize of $2 million.

This year the Buckeyes are unsure of whether their Toyota Highlander will exceed the performance of the ION.

"This year we hope to have a more intelligent Buckeye out there," Ozguner said.

Though the team did not receive a cash prize in the Grand Challenge they are still proud of taking 10th place. "We did better than Princeton, Cornell, Caltech and UCLA. By and large it wasn't a bad showing," Ozguner said.

The team is seeking a priceless prize. "Recognition is more important in this race," Ozguner said.

Overall the team has a positive outlook on what is to come throughout the process of the competition. "I really do believe the intelligent autonomous vehicles research is a great representative of what development is all about," Kurt said. I'm trying to anticipate reactions to reach the goals is an important part of the overall problem," he said.

Kurt said the process of building the robotics vehicle does not end with just the qualification approval from U.S. Department of Defense. The process of getting to the final event is drawn out by a series of tests given by DARPA, which are graded accordingly.

Going through the process, however, can be very beneficial in the long run.

In 2005, the teams ION vehicle took 10th place in the Grand Challenge, which was in the Mojave Desert near Primm, Nev. Unfortunately the Stanford Racing team finished first taking home a cash prize of $2 million.

This year the Buckeyes are unsure of whether their Toyota Highlander will exceed the performance of the ION.

"This year we hope to have a more intelligent Buckeye out there," Ozguner said.

Though the team did not receive a cash prize in the Grand Challenge they are still proud

of taking 10th place. "We did better than Princeton, Cornell, Caltech and UCLA. By and large it wasn't a bad showing," Ozguner said.

The team is seeking a priceless prize. "Recognition is more important in this race," Ozguner said.

Overall the team has a positive outlook on what is to come throughout the process of the competition. "I really do believe the intelligent autonomous vehicles research is a great representative of what development is all about," Kurt said.