Winning the DARPA Grand Challenge [Robotics]


May 15, 2006


Sebastian Thrun


Stanford University


The DARPA Grand Challenge has been the most significant challenge to the robotics community in more than a decade. It required to build an autonomous robot capable of traversing 132 miles of punishing desert terrain in less than 10 hours. In 2004, the best robot only made 7.3 miles. In 2005, Stanford won the challenge and the $2M prize money by successfully traversing the course in less than 7 hours. This talk, delivered by the leader of the Stanford Racing Team, will provide insights in the software architecture of Stanford’s winning robot. The robot massively relied on machine learning and probabilistic modeling for sensor interpretation and control. The speaker will explain some of the basic algorithms, and share some of the excitement characterizing this historic event.


Sebastian Thrun

Sebastian Thrun is Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL). Thrun led the team that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Thrun has published 300 refereed articles (including several books), won six best paper awards, a German Olympus Award, a NSF CAREER award, and he is also a Fellow of the AAAI. Thrun’s research focuses on robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.