[blindkid] Fwd: Audi to climb Pikes Peak without a driver
blindchildren at verizon.net
Fri Apr 9 23:16:44 UTC 2010
>We're getting closer!
>Updated At 5 40 AM.. Audi to climb Pikes Peak without a
>driver By TERENCE CHEA Associated Press Writer The
>Associated Press SAN JOSE, Calif. . It can traverse rough
>terrain, accelerate quickly and negotiate sharp turns like other
>high-performance sports cars, but there's one thing that sets this
>Audi coupe apart: It doesn't need a driver.
>The car, named Shelley, is the latest creation by Stanford
>University researchers who are developing technology that could help
>make driving safer and one day allow ordinary vehicles to drive on their own.
>The self-driving car will face its biggest test this fall at
>Colorado's Pikes Peak, home of the world-famous International Hill
>Climb that has bedeviled professional drivers with its steep grades
>and treacherous switchbacks since 1916.
>Automotive researchers have already designed experimental vehicles
>that can drive long distances or navigate city streets without a
>driver. With Shelley named after Michelle Mouton, the first woman
>to win the Pikes Peak race the Stanford team is developing a car
>that can drive at high speeds under extreme conditions.
>What we're trying to do is create an autonomous race car, an
>autonomous rally car, so a car that can drive itself up to the very
>limits of handling," said Christian Gerdes, a Stanford engineering
>professor who directs the university's Center for Automotive Research.
>It may be years before someone can send the minivan out to pick up
>the kids from soccer practice, but autonomous car technology has
>already led to features such as automatic parallel parking and
>adaptive cruise control, which lets a car handle stop-and-go traffic
>on its own.
>The U.S. Department of Defense has been developing driverless
>technology that allows unmanned vehicles to perform military
>missions without endangering soldiers. Its research arm, the Defense
>Advanced Research Project Agency, has been sponsoring autonomous
>vehicle contests since 2004 with the goal of making one-third of the
>military's ground combat vehicles driverless by 2015.
>Volkswagen AG, which makes Audi vehicles and is working with
>Stanford on the Shelley project, has set a goal of creating fully
>autonomous vehicles by 2028, said Marcial Hernandez, a senior
>engineer at Volkswagen's electronics research lab in Palo Alto.
>You're tired at the end of the day. You just want to relax on your
>way home. Push the button, and the car gets you home," Hernandez
>said. It's really about the car knowing how to drive.
>Shelley is an Audi TTS that has been equipped with GPS receivers and
>can be programmed to follow any route using a digital map. The
>research team has developed computer algorithms that let the car
>make real-time adjustments to the terrain and calculate how fast it
>can go without spinning out of control.
>That technology could one day be used to create smarter cars that
>help motorists avoid accidents when they're driving fast, said
>We hope this will be inspiration for future safety systems, for cars
>that will help a drivers drive up to the capabilities of the car,"
>Gerdes said. So if you're suddenly on a slippery road, the car
>should be able to react and keep you safely in the lane, pointed in
>the direction you want to go.
>At Pikes Peak, Shelley will climb 4,721 feet up the 14,110-foot
>mountain on paved and gravel roads as it covers the 12.4-mile race
>course and its 156 turns at high speeds. The feat has never
>attempted by an autonomous vehicle.
>Nearly 200 cars, trucks and motorcycles are expected to take part in
>the 88th annual "Race to the Clouds" on June 27, but Shelley will
>have the road to itself when it attempts the course in September.
>Once the team hits the start button, Shelley will be making all the
>driving decisions on its own.
>This really represents the ultimate challenge," Gerdes said.
>Shelley is the latest autonomous car designed by Stanford's
>automotive research center, which is working with major automakers
>and Silicon Valley tech firms to develop car technology.
>In 2005, Stanley, a driverless Volkswagen Touareg SUV, won the $2
>million top prize in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's
>Grand Challenge, a 132-mile autonomous car race through the Mojave Desert.
>Two years later, Stanford's Junior, an autonomous Volkswagen Passat
>Wagon, won $1 million when it placed second in DARPA's Urban
>Challenge, a city driving contest that requires cars to follow
>traffic laws and avoid other vehicles.
>Shelley has already reached speeds of 130 mph at the Bonneville Salt
>Flats in Utah. In May, Gerdes' team plans to take Shelley to El
>Mirage Dry Lake in Southern California and attempt to break the
>world record for fastest autonomous land vehicle.
>On the Net:
>Stanford Center for Automotive
Carol Castellano, President
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
carol_castellano at verizon.net
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