Carnegie Mellon University and General Motors built an autonomous SUV that won first place in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.
The Urban Challenge race was held on November 3, 2007 at the Victorville training facility in California. Eleven teams competed against each other to finish a 60-mile city course in less than six hours. Their vehicles had to conduct simulated missions in a mock urban area while obeying traffic laws, safely merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections, and avoiding other vehicles – all without human intervention.
Carnegie Mellon’s “Boss” (an autonomous Chevy Tahoe named after legendary General Motors engineer Charles “Boss” Kettering) was the first of three vehicles that actually finished the race within the six-hour time limit. Three other entries finished after the time limit had expired.
Carnegie Mellon’s Tartan Racing team was led by internationally-recognized mobile robotics expert Red Whittaker and key members of Red Team Racing, who fielded strong entries in the 2004 and 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge races. Faculty and staff from across the university, including Tony Stentz, Alonzo Kelly and Drew Bagnell from the National Robotics Engineering Center, joined Tartan Racing’s drive to win the Urban Challenge. General Motors, Caterpillar, Continental and other partners brought their vehicle development and engineering expertise to the Urban Challenge.