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.
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.
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.