The DARPA Urban Challenge competition will be held Nov. 3 in the western United States. The unmanned Tahoe will have to navigate safely through a 60-mile urban area course with merging traffic, stop signs and busy intersections in less than six hours without any remote control by humans.
The Tahoe, named "Boss" after GM Research founder Charles F. Kettering, is equipped with computer controls for driving and several radars, lasers and cameras for situation assessment. Computer software has been developed to enable the vehicle to drive itself.
"Imagine a world where there are no car crashes and very little traffic congestion," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and strategic planning. "This world is close to being proven thanks to the rapid advancement of electronics and communications technology. We are actively developing cars that can drive themselves and the DARPA Urban Challenge provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our progress."
In addition to its premier sponsorship of the Tartan Racing Team, GM is working with Carnegie Mellon University on autonomous driving technologies through its collaborative research laboratory at the university in Pittsburgh. More information on the Tartan Team can be viewed at www.tartanracing.org.
According to Alan Taub, GM executive director of R&D, collaboration with universities and supplier partners is vital to the development of this technology.
"We have been working closely with Carnegie Mellon University for seven years in the development of information and communications technologies and are extremely pleased with the results we are seeing," said Taub. "Participating in a competition like the DARPA Urban Challenge strengthens our relationship."
In addition to GM and Carnegie Mellon University, the Tartan Team is supported by the following sponsors: Caterpillar; Continental AG; Intel; Google; Applanix; TeleAtlas; Vector; Ibeo; Mobileye; CarSim; CleanPower Resources; M/A-COM; NetApp; Vector; CANtech; and Hewlett Packard - General Motors.