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Photo of Chuck Thorpe CHUCK THORPE

Chuck Thorpe is a senior research scientist at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. As a robotics engineer, he is interested in computer vision, planning and control of robot vehicles operating in unstructured outdoor environments.

For more than ten years, Thorpe has been working on the Navlab Project, with the ultimate goal of designing and producing a vehicle that drives itself. The Navlab project has a pair of robot trucks, which drive on roads and cross country. The prototype vehicle seen on this episode of Frontiers uses sensors and videos to analyze the road ahead and steer itself along the highway without a human driver. This experimental van could help create safer highways in the future. For more about Chuck Thorpe and the Navlab Project: Navlab Project Home Page.

See Chuck Thorpe's answers to Ask the Scientists questions.


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.