Tuesday, April 25, 2017

First Autonomous Buggy Role at CMU!

My son, Sean, is the President of the Robotics club at Carnegie Mellon University and they just achieved a huge milestone in the world of geekdom - the first autonomous buggy role in CMU history.  What's "buggy"? - its a very specific competition that happens every year on campus that combines cutting edge engineering, physical athletics and a lot of fun.

From the CMU Buggy organization Website:
Buggy (also called Sweepstakes) is a race held annually since 1920 at Carnegie Mellon. Teams of 5 atheletes (the pushers) push an un-motorized vehicle (a buggy) containing a driver around a 0.84 mile course in a relay format where the vehicle serves as the baton. Roughly half of the course is uphill, during which the pushers run and shove the buggy uphill. During the other - downhill - half, drivers are on their own to navigate tight turns at speeds of up to 35mph.

The races are a hoot to watch - you can check them out here

It may sound simple but building a completely autonomous driving system to navigate the course is really hard and people have been trying for years.  Sean and the team have been working really hard over the past few months designing the guidance software and hardware and have been getting up at 4:30am saturday mornings to perform test rolls - 4:30am is unheard of for college students.

Its a good day to be a Geek!

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