Anaheim, California – Team Cybernet, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was chosen today as a semifinalist in DARPA’s third Grand Challenge. The 2007 Urban Challenge is the latest in the series of DARPA-sponsored competitions intended to foster the development of robotic ground vehicle technologies that function without a human operator, which are intended for battlefield use by the U.S. military.
Team Cybernet is led by Cybernet Systems Corporation and includes other prominent Michigan companies and universities as partners. Cybernet Systems CEO Heidi Jacobus said of her team’s success, “Performance in the Urban Challenge requires innovations and advances in robotics. We are working to make Congress’s mandate ‘By 2015, one-third of the operational combat vehicles should be unmanned’ a reality. We want to deliver robotic vehicles to the troops to keep them out of harm’s way – now.”
The Urban Challenge, set for November 3, 2007, will feature autonomous ground vehicles executing simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. Safe operation in traffic is essential to U.S. military plans to use autonomous ground vehicles to conduct important missions and keep American personnel out of harm’s way. DARPA will award $2 million, $1 million and $500,000 awards to the top three finishers that complete the course within the six-hour time limit. Eighty-nine teams from around the world entered the competition in October 2006, and Team Cybernet is one of only 36 teams to have successfully passed both preliminary rounds to reach the National Qualification Event, which takes place from October 26 – 31, 2007.