Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Victor Tango Recieves Warm Welcome atHome

Nov. 6, 2007
As the members of team Victor Tango attempt to re-adjust to the cold weather in Blacksburg, VA, they could not feel more warmth from the community. The VT home page recognized the team and the VT newspaper, the Collegiate Times, covered the story on the Front Page.

Not to mention the team has received an overwhelming number of emails and calls from across the globe in congratulation. Thank you to everyone for your support. As a team, our goal is to further the state of the technology in this field, and build a legacy for robotics research at Virginia Tech. Future generations will benefit from the ground work we have laid here.

On a lighter note, the team finally got a chance to relax the last couple of days in California. Tired of letting cars drive themselves, we headed straight for a go-kart race track. After working with the same people for two weeks, lets just say there was some tension to get out. There was plenty of "friendly" contact- we only broke two of the go-karts. We finished the night off with some Dave & Busters, followed up by In & Out Burger, animal style, mmmm....

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Odin Takes 3rd Place in DARPA Urban Challenge

Nov 4, 2007
Today, November 4th, 2007, DARPA announced the winners of the DARPA Urban Challenge. This event has enabled the realization of a technology that will greatly benefit mankind. To arrive at this point, many teams have spent thousands upon thousands of hours shaping their cars and their car's brains. It has been an arduous journey for all, including the DARPA officials that have succeeded in putting on this tremendous event.So to cut to the chase, team Victor Tango accepted the third place award, preceded by second place Stanford, and first place Tartan Racing. The feeling of standing among the three victors of the greatest robot race to date was one that will be hard to forget. It is a tremendous honor and a great accomplishment to have received the trophy today. We thank everyone that has offered their support in this endeavor: our sponsors, advisory committee, family, friends, and teachers who let us take off two weeks of school.

Victor Tango Crosses Finish Line!!!

Nov 3, 2007
Almost two years of hard work has paid off in a brilliant finale! Dr. Tony Tether waves the checkered flag as Odin crosses the Urban Challenge finish line in under six hours.
The last five minutes of the race were an intense battle to the finish line between Victor Tango, Stanford, and Tartan Racing. Who would have thought a six hour race with autonomous vehicles could come down to minutes?! All three teams held their breath waiting for the robots to come within eye shot. Unfortunately, Odin was the third to cross the line. It was certainly frustrating for the team, especially since Odin had been in the lead for almost the entire race. However, it is truly an amazing accomplishment to be one of the top three teams in the world in urban autonomous vehicle technology.

Here is a video of Odin completing a 4 way stop during the competition. More video will be available as it is processed by the team.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Nov 3, 2007
Today has finally arrived!! The DARPA Urban Challenge is upon us. Only the most skilled teams will complete the sixty miles across urban terrain bustling with human and robot drivers. VictorTango has been seeded second in the start chutes after an excellent showing during qualification rounds (shown below). At 8am on Nov. 3, 2007, the live webcast will be shown at:

The first second and third place teams will take home $2 million, $1 million, and $500,000 respectively. Additionally, each team will receive a trophy to commemorate their victory.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Nerd's Dream Come True

Nov. 2, 2007
Just as celebrities such as Robert De Niro may grace a New York Yankees game with their presence, the DARPA Urban Challenge has its own celebrity appearances. Today, the members of Victor Tango met Jamie and Grant from MythBusters. This created such a stir that certain team members locked themselves out of their room in their haste to catch the celebrities. The only TV watched more religiously by the team is Virginia Tech football.Jamie and Grant discussed Odin's technology with the team. They were impressed by the clean installation of the drive-by-wire system. While their motto is "quick and dirty", they certainly had an appreciation for our clean approach. Grant actually has an impressive background in robotics. He has worked with R2-D2, the energizer bunny, and developed a former Battlebots champion, "Deathblow".

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Finalists Announced

DARPA is narrowing the field of competitors day by day. Six teams have been announced as finalists: Victor Tango, Ben Franklin (U Penn, Lehigh), Cornell, Stanford, CarOLO, and Tartan Racing (CMU). DARPA has also announced 12 teams that have been cut from the competition: Sting (Georgia Tech/ SAIC), Ody-Era, Princeton, SciAutonics, Berlin, University of Utah, Mojavation, CalTech, Jefferson, Juggernaut, Gator Nation, and Urbanator.

The Finalists: (in the same order as above)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Victor Tango Passes National Qualification!!!

Oct. 30, 2007
The call just came from the Director of DARPA, Dr. Tony Tether, that team Victor Tango has officially been admitted to the Urban Challenge Event on November 3, 2007. Its been a tough week, with endless hours of work day and night. Nerves on edge and patience running thin, the team reacts to the news with cheers and sighs of relief simultaneously.
Here is a video of the final qualification run:

First thing on the agenda, a game of hacky-sack. Second, a night of celebration and good sleep. Third, back to work.