Robots: "Rocky" & "Cliff"
Body: 4WD Club Car Pioneer XRT 1500 utility carts
Affiliation: Virginia Tech
Hometown: Blacksburg, VA
Leaders: Profs. Charles Reinholtz, Al Wicks, and Graduate Research Assistant Brett Leedy
Team size: 40+ undergraduate students, 10 grad students, 2 faculty, 5+ volunteers
Budget: <$20,000 cash, with equipment donations worth ~$100,000
Key technologies: 3 lidar range finders, stereo vision road following, GPS, and inertial navigation system
Biggest challenge(s): Getting to the Grand Challenge! The team spent more money driving to and staying in California and Nevada than they spent constructing both vehicles. The team braved 24-hour days, flat tires, and hurricane detours to make it to the competition on time.
Race results: Rocky: Out of race at 39 miles. Cliff: Out of race at 44 miles. What they're up to now: The undergraduate team is improving the vehicles and gearing up for a head-to-head competition through the mountains of southwest Virginia. The VT Challenge will test Rocky versus Cliff on their home turf in an off-road mountain course.
Where the vehicle is now: Both vehicles reside in the Unmanned Systems Lab at Virginia Tech, where they are used for autonomous research. They can be found driving the fields near campus in preparation for the VT Challenge.