Wolfsburg, Germany- based Volkswagen AG has demonstrated a Touareg that can drive over an off-road course without a driver at a course at Motopark Oschersleben. The test is a rehearsal for VW's entry...
Wolfsburg, Germany- based Volkswagen AG has demonstrated a Touareg that can drive over an off-road course without a driver at a course at Motopark Oschersleben. The test is a rehearsal for VW’s entry in the US “Grand Challenge 2005”, a unique race for driverless automobiles, entering the prototype’s sister model. The event will be held on October 8th in the desert conditions of the American southwest. The event, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) carries US$2 million in prize money. The participating vehicles have to navigate a 175-mile route (around 282 kilometres), which is not revealed until the start, within ten hours. No driver or operator intervention is allowed.
Multiple sensors as well as a combination of four laser detectors collect the data that allows the driverless car to find its way safely and quickly. The systems also use stereo visual equipment, high-tech 24-GHz radar systems and a highly accurate, satellite-supported GPS navigation system, which depicts the position of the vehicle digitally to the exact millimeter. The information is sent to the high-performance computer centre located in the trunk of the off-road vehicle. It is made up of seven networked Pentium M motherboards each with a 1.6 GHz processor. This system uses complex and unique software to determine the steering, acceleration and braking commands needed to control the vehicle electronically via “drive-by-wire” systems. It can react to the special features of the road in real-time. The prototype was created in a collaboration between the Volkswagen research department, Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, California, and Stanford University. Volkswagen expects to adapt some of the technologies to production vehicles in the future.
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