Rover has joined forces with the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT) by donating a Land Rover LR3 that has
been built to be fully autonomous so it can take part in
the forthcoming 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.
has completely modified the LR3, a vehicle already packed
with technology, so that without human driver assistance
or remote control, the vehicle is able to drive itself
and perform simple tasks such as avoiding obstacles and
merging into moving traffic.
LR3 uses state-of-the-art hardware to view the environment
and to track its own motion while driving on major roads
or moving through cities. It is equipped with Light Detection
and Ranging (LIDAR) range finders with vision sensors
in order to view the environment, helping it avoid obstacles
that might get in its way. In order to track its progress
along the roads, the vehicle uses a combination of GPS
(Global Positioning System) and INS (Inertial Navigation
this combination of technology, the vehicle can locate
itself within half of a meter anywhere in the world, giving
it the ability to stay on road at all times. By grouping
these technologies, the LR3 can navigate itself while
avoiding anything that might get in its way.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) urban
challenge is an annual competition where several autonomous
vehicles, like this specialised LR3, compete against each
other in several different rounds.
successfully completing the qualifying round in early
August, Team MIT and the LR3 have been invited back to
compete in the challenging semi-final round taking place
on October 26-31, with the goal of making it to the final
DARPA Urban Challenge final event will be held in Victorville,
CA on November 3, 2007. During the competition, the vehicles
will need to traverse through a 60-mile mock city course
within six hours, and will be challenged with tasks while
completing a stipulated route. Some of these tasks include
executing simulated supply missions while merging into
moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating
busy intersections and avoiding various obstacles - all
without a driver or via remote control.
Rover North America is part of Ford Motor Company''s Premier
Automotive Group with headquarters in Irvine, California.
Land Rover established operations in the US in 1986, and
now imports and distributes Range Rover, Range Rover Sport,
LR3 and LR2 vehicles manufactured by Land Rover in Solihull
and Halewood, England. Land Rover''s worldwide operations
are wholly owned by Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan.