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Volume 25 Issue 5/6 - Publication Date: 1 May/June 2006
Special Issue on the Ninth International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, 2004
 
Toward Reliable Off Road Autonomous Vehicles Operating in Challenging Environments
 
A. Kelly, A. Stentz, O. Amidi, M. Bode, D. Bradley, A. Diaz-Calderon, M. Happold, H. Herman The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, R. Mandelbaum Sarnoff Corporation, Princeton, NJ, T. Pilarski, P. Rander, S. Thayer, N. Vallidis, and R. Warner The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
 
The DARPA PerceptOR program has implemented a rigorous evaluative test program which fosters the development of field relevant outdoor mobile robots. Autonomous ground vehicles were deployed on diverse test courses throughout the USA and quantitatively evaluated on such factors as autonomy level, waypoint acquisition, failure rate, speed, and communications bandwidth. Our efforts over the three year program have produced new approaches in planning, perception, localization, and control which have been driven by the quest for reliable operation in challenging environments. This paper focuses on some of the most unique aspects of the systems developed by the CMU PerceptOR team, the lessons learned during the effort, and the most immediate challenges that remain to be addressed.
 
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