Lowell, MA -- Tyco Electronics announced its sponsorship of Carnegie Mellon University's Tartan Racing Team with M/A-COM radar sensors. The M/A-COM ultra wideband radar sensors will be donated for use in the team's "Boss" vehicles, two 2007 Chevy Tahoes that will be modified mechanically and electronically for autonomous urban driving. One of the two "Boss" vehicles will be entered in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Urban Challenge event, which will be held in the western United States on November 3, 2007.
The competition will require unmanned vehicles to drive through an urban course while obeying traffic laws, merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, stop signs and intersections, all without remote control by humans. The winning vehicle will be the first to negotiate 60 miles of roads and obstacles in less than six hours. Cash prizes will be awarded to the team whose unmanned vehicle successfully meets the requirements and completes the course. First prize is $2 million, second prize is $500,000 and third prize is $250,000.
"We are very pleased to support the development of new autonomous navigation and robotic technologies through the application of our radar sensors in the Tartan Racing Team's unmanned "Boss" vehicles," said Brad Kruse, business development manager, Tyco Electronics M/A-COM automotive products. "Utilizing our sensor technology, "Boss" will have the capability to rapidly detect multiple objects that are closely spaced and can respond to stationary and moving objects – all helping to navigate the vehicle through urban intersections and traffic."
"Urban Challenge technologies will dramatically improve the safety and capability of automotive travel today and into the future. To succeed, breakthroughs in machine intelligence, sensing, planning and software reliability must be achieved," said Red Whittaker, Carnegie Mellon University Professor and Team Leader. "All of us at Tartan Racing are competing to win DARPA's Urban Challenge, but in the end it's our intention to make driving safer, to create and deploy new autonomous navigation and robotic technologies, and to transform the public's understanding of what is possible."
The ultra wideband M/A-COM sensors operate at 24 GHz with a typical range accuracy of +/- 5 cm and provide a high level of functionality, even in adverse weather conditions. The sensors are ideally suited for use in military applications including convoy/leader follower, autonomous vehicles, aircraft/helicopter collision avoidance, in addition to border security and various mining purposes.