Jun 25, 2009
Carnegie Mellon University's Tartan Racing team plans to roll out a leaner and meaner successor to its driverless Boss SUV by the end of the year.
The team's first Boss won DARPA's 2007 Urban Challenge, which pitted autonomous autos against one another in a race through simulated city traffic. Tartan is now choosing the make and model of the vehicle that will carry all sorts of the latest lasers, cameras, and other gizmos needed to navigate the world without a human in the cockpit.
Boss 2 will serve as the test bed for a number of new autonomous driving technologies, says Raj Rajkumar, a professor in Carnegie Mellon's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-director of the school's General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Information Technology Collaborative Research Lab. Although the details have yet to be worked out, the next project could include technology that allows cars to communicate with one another and with traffic signals to help avoid accidents. Rajkumar also wants to experiment with building redundancy into the car's mechanical systems, so if one component (such as the brakes) fails, there's a backup system that can take over. Boss 2 will also likely be able to drive faster than 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) per hour (Boss's current top speed).
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