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Stanford To Enter Robo-Volkswagen in DARPA Challenge

Stanford University will enter a robotic Volkswagen Passat in this fall’s DARPA Urban Challenge. The contest is designed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to encourage ideas that "that will keep warfighters off the battlefield and out of harm’s way," according to DARPA.

Stanford’s autonomous 2006 diesel-powered Passat wagon, nick-named Junior, will compete in the Challenge’s 60-mile mock urban course, which involves merging with traffic, crossing traffic circles, and negotiating busy intersections while following traffic laws.

Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory modified the car’s electric systems with sophisticated sensors and Intel Core 2 Duo processors, which include multiple processing units per chip. Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab developed the software. Other firms involved in creating the car-robot include Google, MDV Ventures, NXP Semiconductors and energy drink maker Red Bull.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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