Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Robot Race Suffers Quick, Ignoble End:: I went to a talk yesterday by Chris Urmson, the technical lead at RI for the red team. He is an advanced PhD student, which gives you an idea of the make-up of the team, i.e. most people were students or volunteers. There was a lot of talk about how much money CMU had for this event, but looking at the details, there really wasn't that much cash around.

Articles like that one linked above are funny because they put all the robots in the same group. True, Sandstorm (CMU's entry) went 7.4 miles, while second place went 6.7 miles. That isn't that big of a difference. BUT, Sandstorm did it in around 40 minutes, and 2nd place well over 2 hours. That is a huge difference, which I rarely see mentioned in reports in the media.

If you haven't gotten the opportunity, I suggest you try to find a video from the helicopters tracking Sandstorm on the race day. I know I certainly wouldn't be that confortable going the speed it was going on those road conditions. It is one thing to say you've reached a max speed of 39mph. It is another matter all together to see that thing jet on a bad dirt road.
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