An Introduction to Stanley, the First Self-Driving Car

08.05.2019 - By Linear Digressions

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In October 2005, 23 cars lined up in the desert for a 140 mile race. Not one of those cars had a driver. This was the DARPA grand challenge to see if anyone could build an autonomous vehicle capable of navigating a desert route (and if so, whose car could do it the fastest); the winning car, Stanley, now sits in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC as arguably the world's first real self-driving car. In this episode (part one of a two-parter), we'll revisit the DARPA grand challenge from 2005 and the rules and constraints of what it took for Stanley to win the competition. Next week, we'll do a deep dive into Stanley's control systems and overall operation and what the key systems were that allowed Stanley to win the race.

Relevant links:
http://isl.ecst.csuchico.edu/DOCS/darpa2005/DARPA%202005%20Stanley.pdf

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