Welcome To California

This post was imported from a blog over at Case Western Reserve University that highlighted the DARPA Urban Challenge.

Hello All! My name is Brad Hughes, an undergraduate member of TeamCASE. I’ll be writing on this blog sporadically throughout our time here in California.

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Over twenty team members arrived in Los Angeles, California yesterday. From the airport, we split into squads and headed for the Victorville, the site of this year’s Urban Challenge. As we traveled through the San Bernardino Mountain range, we stared in awe at the smoke and flames that are engulfing California (pictured at right.)
DEXTER, our autonomous entry to the Urban Challenge, arrived this morning at 5:00am in Adelanto. Several team members met Roadway at their shipping dock and moved the robot onto a car hauler that transported DEXTER to our camp on site at the Southern California Logistics Airport. Our leader Dr. Wyatt Newman officially registered us this morning at 7:00am and received our official race guidelines and materials as the rest of the team arrived in a caravan of vehicles.

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The RNDFs, or Route Network Definition Files, were one of the major pieces of information received from DARPA this morning – they are a very crucial part to the competition. The RNDFs define the route and its interconnectivity – the intersections and roadways that we will autonomously travel. We currently have teams of students working to simulate our AI (artificial intelligence) and control algorithms on these maps to pinpoint any last minute bugs.
Now that I got the important part out of the way, I’ll give a little intro on who I am so that you can understand my perspective on the project and competition.
I’m currently a sophomore electrical engineering undergraduate student. A little over a year ago I approached the team with interest of working on the project. The team invited me to their weekly research group meeting where I volunteered to work on low level Vehicle Control with our Vehicle Control Tech Lead, Amaury Rolin. I worked through last fall and the spring. This past summer, I applied for SOURCE funding from the Provost’s office and Case Alumni Association. Having received funding, I spent the summer in Cleveland, Ohio on the Case Western Reserve University campus to design, implement, and test algorithms that teach DEXTER how to complete his missions. Working on DEXTER has been a large facet of my life for the past year, and I’m really excited to see how the next two weeks of go.

9 Responses

  1. Jan says:

    Brad and Team Case – Glad you arrived safely and made it through the fire storm. I hope DEXTER is as dexterous as you hope he is. Good luck with the competition.

  2. gram says:

    Brad, Glad to hear from you…..all safe and sound. Looking forward to hearing more as the competition progress. May the luck of the Irish be with you.

  3. Peg says:

    We’re glad to hear the team and Dexter arrived safely. Hope things contine to go well. Everyone back home is cheering for you. Go Team Case!!!

  4. AJ and Wendy says:

    How wonderful that you were able to get involved with the team as a freshman! We’ll be there for the finals on Saturday, and we expect to be cheering when Team Case crosses the finish line. Good luck from Mitty Robotics, FRC Team 1351.

  5. Helen says:

    Good luck tomorrow to Team Case in your time trials. You guys are now the Cleveland play-off team to watch! Best wishes and be safe.

  6. Rolin says:

    All my wishes to all the Team Case’s and to my nephew Amaury,
    Waiting for a good news at 11 AM and a wining participation to the final round,
    Guy Rolin watching you from Belgium

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