Excitement is building in the world of car tech as the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge approaches. The event, which is the third and most demanding to date in the DARPA Challenge series, requires driverless vehicles to perform mock military supply missions completely autonomously. Over a 60-mile course, the robotic cars will be required to merge into moving traffic, navigate traffic circles, negotiate busy intersections, and avoiding obstacles. Thirty-five teams will compete in the Grand Challenge semifinals taking place between October 26 and 31, with 20 vehicles going on to compete in the final race on November 3. Check out our … Read more
CNET News.com reports on and posts photos of Caltech's entrant for the DARPA Urban Challenge. This Ford E-350 van, named Alice, is rigged with GPS, LIDAR, and other sensors, the data from which is processed by Caltech's custom programming. The goal for Alice is to negotiate an urban course designated by DARPA without a driver. This Urban Challenge is a new twist on DARPA 2005 Grand Challenge, which ran through the desert. In the Urban Challenge, cars will have to follow basic street rules, like staying in their lanes and obeying traffic signs and signals. The race … Read more
The word "performance" seems to be thrown around a lot in the automotive world these days. With increasing expansion and competition within the luxury sport sedan category, manufacturers are eager to drop statistics about horsepower, torque, zero-to-60 speeds, and other numbers to woo (and maybe even slightly intimidate) potential buyers. But specifications alone can't convey the true spirit of a car; as Aristotle said, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. So it makes sense that the ideal road test subjects the car to a wide range of variables: twisty turns of varying camber, … Read more
OK, so the "Sky Challenger Micro Helicopter" can't really shoot down other airborne toys, but it's still worth it. For one thing, you can give a pair of them to those maturity-challenged acquaintances and send them out to the parking lot so they can shoot at each other instead of bothering you. While they can't knock each other out of the sky, according to Tech Digest, … Read more
The U.K. Ministry of Defense announced Monday that 14 of the 23 teams who applied have made it to the finals of its Grand Challenge.
The MOD Grand Challenge is a competition of robots similar to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Grand Challenge. The finalist teams range from universities to military contractors.
Coincidentally, both the U.S. DARPA Grand Challenge this November 3 and the U.K. MOD Grand Challenge this August 2008 will focus on the urban setting.
However, while the DARPA-sponsored challenge focuses on the autonomous vehicle, the MOD-sponsored challenge concentrates on the … Read more
Who would have thought green fuel was meant for speed? A few months ago fellow Craver (and speed nut) Michael Kanellos wrote of the "KillaCycle," an all-electric motorcyle that set a new record for the world's fastest electric vehicle, doing a quarter-mile in 8.168 seconds. Now the "British Steam Car Challenge" has even higher ambitions--to hit 150 miles per hour on British soil, then 200 mph on Utah's Bonneville salt flats for a new land speed record.
We don't know proverbial jack about steam cars, but it sounds as dangerous as it … Read more
There's now a fairly decent selection of iPod-friendly apparel, but most of it falls under the category of including shirts, jackets and suits--in other words, men's clothing. It was refreshing, therefore, to see some MP3-enabled garments that are decidedly un-male, on the order of mini-skirts, capris and bootleg pants.
In fact, being of the bearded gender ourselves, we're not even sure what bootleg pants are. Chip Chick does, however, and it's found an entire line of colorful "iPod/MP3 apparel" designed specifically for women by Colorado-based clothier Vickerey at a fairly reasonable price … Read more
Where can you find some primo vintage desert footwear, a discussion of probability algorithms, and a solar-powered robotics operation? Why, it's Crave's slideshow of 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge entrants!
DARPA's 2005 Grand Challenge was a 132-mile Nevada desert race of autonomous vehicles. This year's Challenge is focused on urban operations--navigating a four-way intersection, performing pretty involved street driving moves--all without a human operator. How much time, manpower, equipment, research and programming does it take to teach a car how to drive itself? Read the story.
Seriously though, check out the boots on that dude from the … Read more
A lot of companies want to sew their technology into the fabric of luggage or clothing, trying to make it as unobstrusive as possible. Not Lifepod. Its "Beat Generation" line of bags, backpacks and cases does just the opposite, as you can see Tech Digest and its Web site: Lifepod's line trumpets--blasts, actually--its technology in the form of its sound system, both visually and aurally, with big speakers and other equipment mounted unapologetically on the sides of retro-style products done in psychedelic, disco and bowling themes (our personal favorite). If they can figure out how to play … Read more
Comedy Central's resident pundit Stephen Colbert has announced the victor in his lightsaber-filled Green Screen Challenge video competition. No, it wasn't the fake iPod ad, or the "World of Colbertcraft," or any of the many submissions in which he battled bears. (Colbert claims to be mortally afraid of them.)
The winner, "Freedom Fighter" by "Bonnie R." from California, was announced on Thursday night's episode of "The Colbert Report." It featured Colbert as the centerpiece of an intentionally hokey video game in which he uses a lightsaber to protect eagles … Read more