Tartans' “Boss” enters Urban Challenge qualifying rounds

Published 26 October 2007

DARPA’s Urban Challenge competition heats up, and “Boss,” Carnegie Mellon University’s Tartan racing team’s modified Chevrolet Tahoe enters the qualifying rounds

The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing Team, sponsored by General Motors and other partner companies, today enters the qualifying rounds of the DARPA Urban Challenge, a competition among driverless vehicles (indeed — completey autonomous vehicles because they are not remote-controlled either) which have to accomplish a simulated mission in a mock urban environment. The Urban Challenge is a competition created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help accelerate technology development in military transportation. During the qualifying rounds, “Boss,” a self-driving Chevrolet Tahoe developed by the Carnegie Mellon team in collaboration with General Motors and the other partners, will compete with thirty-five teams to earn the right to compete in the final event, which will be held on 3 November in Victorville, California.

The Tahoe was named Boss in honor of Charles (“Boss”) Kettering, legendary GM inventor and founder of the automotive industry’s first research organization. Boss is equipped with computer controls for driving and radars, lasers, and cameras for driving assessment. Computer software replaces the human driver. Unlike most races, the winner of the Urban Challenge will be judged less on speed and more on performance as the robot vehicles navigate a sixty-mile course in an urban setting complete with merging traffic, stop signs, speed limits, and busy intersections, without a driver or even remote control. In addition to GM and Carnegie Mellon University, the Tartan Team is supported by Caterpillar, Continental AG, Intel, Google, Applanix, TeleAtlas, Vector, Ibeo, Mobileye, CarSim, CleanPower Resources, M/A-COM, NetApp, Vector, CANtech, and Hewlett Packard.