PercepTek picks Honeywell and Delphi sensors for DARPA robot race

LITTLETON, Colo., 2 Sept. 2005. Perceptek has announced that their entry for the DARPA Grand Challenge has passed the required rigorous testing and inspection, earning one of 43 semi-finalist slots for the October race.

LITTLETON, Colo., 2 Sept. 2005. Perceptek has announced that their entry for the DARPA Grand Challenge has passed the required rigorous testing and inspection, earning one of 43 semi-finalist slots for the October race.

The PercepTek team is called "Intelligent Vehicle Safety Technologies" (IVST). Its race platform will be a Ford F-250 Super Duty 4X4 truck with a sensor set including GPS, inertial navigation, ladar, radar and color stereo video.

This "Desert Tortoise" will be slow and steady, using the methodical perseverance of its namesake, and favoring robust integration techniques to make use of the great data volume which is available at slower speeds.

IVST includes technical experts in the vehicle platforms, navigation, sensors, perception and autonomy. The core team members come from four key organizations:

* PercepTek: Lead Systems Integrator, responsible for the full systems integration and testing, specialize in autonomous perception, planning and control algorithms employed in both military and commercial applications

* Honeywell: navigation sensing for the complete spectrum of air and ground vehicles, obstacle detection and avoidance, path planning, and shock and environmental isolation.

* Delphi: active sensing technologies and integration to create a safety cocoon around the vehicle.

* Ford: ruggedized vehicle platforms, desert truck race experience, actuation, drive-by-wire systems, advanced driver safety features, integration, and low level control

"PercepTek has had the technology to complete a course like the Grand Challenge for several years, but now with a great team of sponsors, lending financial assistance and tech support, we are pleased to be a semi-finalist in our first competition," said Steve Paulet, the company's director of business development.

Sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Grand Challenge is a competition for completely autonomous ground vehicles to travel approximately 150 miles over treacherous desert roads and trails from California to Nevada.

DARPA created the "Grand Challenge" last year to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles that will help save American lives on the battlefield. Organizations from industry, the R&D community, government, the armed services, and academia help drive the pursuit of this technological challenge.

The "$2 million winner takes all challenge" is scheduled to be held in the southwestern United States on October 8, 2005, and attracted an original 200 teams at registration. After the recent site visits and testing, only 43 teams have earned the right to compete this year.

Last year, DARPA offered $1 million to the first team to complete the Grand Challenge in less than 10 hours. No team finished the course, so the prize money went unclaimed, and rolled into this year's $2 million purse. For more information, see www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge.

PercepTek, Inc. of Littleton, Colo., is a leader in the field of Intelligent Robotics, focused on integration, perception, planning and control for the robotics, surveillance and autonomous vehicle markets. Aggressively pursuing research and development with the commitment to develop and transition advanced technology products, PercepTek works with government sponsored research programs, collaborates with key university and research institutes, and develops strategic long-term relationships with industrial partners to assist in broadening product lines and incorporating automation technologies. For more information, see www.perceptek-robotics.com.

More in Communications