A riderless motorcycle has been developed by a team of graduate students from the
The team’s ‘Ghostrider’ is one of 40 semi-finalists selected for the 2005 Grand Challenge, a 150-mile off-road race for autonomous vehicles sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA). The first vehicle to successfully complete the 150 mile course in the October 8 competition will win a $2 million prize.
The DARPA Grand Challenge is designed to further the development of autonomous vehicle technology for the Department of Defense. It requires self-navigating vehicles to travel on rugged desert roads using onboard sensors and navigation equipment to find the route and avoid obstacles.
To guide their vehicle, the
“We have taken a different approach, both in the use of a two-wheeled vehicle for a narrow profile, and by relying solely on machine vision for guidance,” said Anthony Levandowski, leader of the Blue Team.
To recognise and avoid obstacles, the Ghostrider uses two In-Sight 5403’s, with the cameras mounted on a gyro-stabilised gimbal system to keep them level and looking forward, no matter the attitude of the bike. The robotic motorcycle also relies on one In-Sight 5400C, a colour vision system, to enable the vehicle to distinguish where the road is and to follow it.
The Ghostrider will compete head-to-head with the 39 other pre-qualifying teams in a final qualifying event at California Speedway in Fontana, California from September 27 – October 6, 2005. Twenty teams will be chosen from this last qualifying race to compete in the final off-road race on