November 03, 2007

Urban Challenge Race Day

Well, today's the big day. It's a huge production! UC is webcasting the whole event. They have aerial photography and cameras placed all around the course. The cast of Mythbusters are on-hand for commentary and the traffic vehicles have already been dispatched. We'll be watching anxiously here in Victorville, and we all are pulling for a safe, successful race.

8:36AM All 11 vehicles have been launched. CMU and TerraMax already had a very near miss on a head-on collision as CMU was riding the center line in the road. The camera quickly switched to another view, but both vehicles are still running fine, so the hit was avoided.

8:38AM We are being told that Team Ben Franklin has broken down and is being moved off the road. Team Ben Franklin has not been officially retired yet.

8:45AM Ben Franklin is on the move again.

8:58AM CarOLO is off the road and stuck in the dirt in an off-road section of the course.

9:09AM CarOLO is being dug out of the pile of dirt he is stuck in.

9:11AM UCF and IVS came up to an intersection and both stopped. Cornell came up behind UCF and decided to pass UCF's chase vehicle and so it was left of center. IVS made its turn and was coming along the other lane and deftly avoided Cornell. Cornell moved completely into the left lane and is waiting for IVS to clear the intersection. Ben Franklin also made the same turn passed Cornell (who is still in the left lane) using in-lane obstacle avoidance, by moving to the left! We have a huge robot traffic jam. UCF is still stuck at the stop sign and Cornell has been paused.

9:21AM UCF has finally cleared the intersection. Cornell has recognized this and moved back into his lane behind UCF and cleared the intersection. This event was really costly for Cornell as they were waiting on an effectively disabled vehicle for about 10 minutes.

9:26AM IVS is stuck at an intersection. Little Ben, two chase vehicles, and Virginia Tech are all queued up behind IVS. It's a one-way street so the vehicles won't replan. We are in all-pause now.

9:31AM TerraMax has been passed before taking out a structural pillar in a building on the side of the road near Area "A." So much for the "safest vehicle in the competition!" We'll have to see if they let TerraMax restart.

9:35AM Oshkosh, Annie Way and IVS are being removed from the course. Team Case is all sitting here watching the action and we can't help but think that DEXTER could be competing well against these machines.

9:42AM It looks like Little Ben is trying to pass into Knight Rider. They are within about 5 inches of a collision. Maybe Little Ben tried to pass a chase vehicle. The chase cars are following far enough behind the robots that some cars might try to pass them and pass in ahead of the chase cars. We are in all pause. Oshkosh, Annie Way, and IVS are out.

10:00AM We are back under way.

10:10AM MIT is having a lot of trouble on the off-road section. They are inching forward and backward and passing phantom obstacles.

10:14AM VT is the first team to complete mission 1 of 3.

10:16AM UCF is in a house!! Looks like they are done. Stanford is finishing mission 1 right now.

10:21AM VT is back on the course for mission 2. MIT and CarOLO are stopped nose-to-nose. No contact is apparent, but both vehicles have stopped. It looks like CarOLO cut off MIT in a left turn in an intersection.

10:24AM Stanford is back under way for mission 2.

10:38AM UCF's Knight Rider is out of the race. UCF has a '96 Subaru Outback and only 10 team members, so congrats UCF on their performance to date!

10:48AM Little Ben is the 3rd machine to finish mission 1.

10:54AM CMU's Boss is the 4th to finish mission 1.

10:57AM MIT and CarOLO are getting into trouble again. They are stuck head-to-head in a traffic circle.

11:07AM CMU and Ben Franklin are on mission 2. Cornell has returned from mission 1. CarOLO is now the 5th car out of the race. MIT is the only team that's still in that hasn't finished mission 1 yet.

11:10AM MIT has completed mission 1 and Cornell has relaunched for mission 2. All 6 remaining teams have now completed mission 1.

11:49AM VT is the first team to complete mission 2. VT is looking smooth and confident.

12:00PM VT is on the move again for mission 3!

12:15PM Stanford and CMU are on mission 3. VT looks like it may be having some problems (loss of real-time, perhaps?), but after a brief pause, it's back up and running smoothly.

12:31PM MIT passed Cornell's chase car, and then went to pass Cornell's car. Cornell, who had been stopped for a while, began to move again and MIT then cut off Cornell, smashing into the left front corner of Cornell's machine. MIT and Cornell are currently paused and tangled up. Stanford has been paused because he was entering the zone with the collision. It looks like MIT will be out, and it is unclear if Cornell will be out too.

12:43PM MIT and Cornell are both back up and running. Neither team has been disqualified for the collision.

12:49PM Little Ben has finished mission 2. All but MIT have finished mission 2 now.

1:40PM It looks like the winner is going to be a toss up between Stanford and VT. Both are just about to finish. Likely it will come down to point totals!

1:43PM Stanford has finished the race. They started third overall.

1:44PM Carnegie Mellon has finished the race. They started second overall.

1:50PM VT has finished the race. They started first overall.

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Posted by: Bradley Farnsworth November 3, 2007 07:51 AM | Category:


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Thanks Brad, Your report is better than most of the sites.

Posted by Bobby Lu on November 3, 2007 04:16 PM

Hey Brad this is a good play by play on the racing events from the webcast. I felt like I was there.

Posted by Cars on April 7, 2008 05:01 PM

HMHM...a very very big day

Posted by peter on December 7, 2008 07:21 PM

Sounds like there were a lot of crashes or near crashes at the event. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Posted by Nic on January 20, 2009 02:13 AM

If you fancy a challenge, you should sub your amazing talent for setting pace notes for off road events around the world, boy could some of them do with it.

Great article, and packed full of humour!

My hat goes off to you, congratulations...

Posted by ATVs on December 23, 2009 06:57 AM

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Posted by: bdf (Bradley Farnsworth) November 3, 2007 07:51 AM | Comments (5)