August 13, 2007
Autonomously driven Passat wagon advances to next round of Darpa Urban Challenge
Autonomous Passat. Click image to enlarge
Auburn Hills, Michigan – Volkswagen of America has announced that the Stanford Racing Team Passat wagon, “Junior”, has advanced to the next round of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge.
“Junior” – a Passat wagon modified by the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, California in cooperation with Stanford – is one of 36 vehicles that have advanced to the next round of the DARPA Urban Challenge; 167 teams participated in a DARPA “Site Visit” in June and July 2007. The National Qualifying Event (NQE) is set to take place in Victorville, California from October 26-31, 2007. The NQE will further narrow the field down to 20 vehicles to participate in the Urban Challenge on November 3rd.
The Urban Challenge is an autonomous driving challenge where vehicles will traverse an urban environment for 60 miles (96.6 km) – merging with moving traffic, navigating traffic circles and busy intersections, avoiding obstacles and finding parking spots. The winner will be determined based upon which vehicle completes these tasks the fastest.
Volkswagen and Stanford successfully partnered to win the DARPA Grand Challenge in October 2005 with “Stanley”, a Volkswagen Touareg TDI. “Stanley” finished the 132 mile autonomous race through the Mojave Desert in six hours and 54 minutes.