Members and friends of the Tartan Racing Team will gather next weekend at Carnegie Mellon University to celebrate UC10, the 10th anniversary of the team's victory in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Urban Challenge self-driving car race.
The event, including a keynote address from team leader Red Whittaker, the Fredkin University Research Professor of Robotics, will not only commemorate the CMU team's win, but will also recognize how the race sparked interest and further development of self-driving cars. Today, that still-experimental technology is used daily on the streets of Pittsburgh, is being further developed by every major car company and a number of startups, and is on the brink of commercial use.
More than 80 people are expected to attend UC10, which includes a kickoff dinner Friday night at Phipps Conservatory and a series of panel discussions Saturday at the Gates and Hillman Center. These discussions will trace autonomous vehicle technology from its beginnings to its implications for the future.
Tartan Racing's autonomous SUV, named Boss, took first place and the $2 million grand prize in the DARPA event in Victorville, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2007. Boss safely navigated 55 miles of urban roads and deftly handled human and robotic traffic, completing the course almost 20 minutes faster than the nearest competitor.
Members of that team, including Chris Urmson, Bryan Salesky, Raj Rajkumar, John Dolan, Tony Stentz, Drew Bagnell and Martial Hebert, constitute a Who's Who in the continuing development of self-driving cars, both at CMU and in industry.