Torrance, CA. March 16, 2004 - NavCom Technology, Inc., a leader in precise positioning and communications, announced today that all six of the teams using NavCom’s StarFire™ Network for the navigation of their autonomous ground vehicle in Saturday’s time trial race from Barstow to Las Vegas, qualified to compete in the $1 Million DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) sponsored Grand Challenge event.
“Today was a most important first step in a long journey,” said Dr. Anthony Tether, Director of DARPA. “Although none of the vehicles completed the course, and we were not able to award the cash prize, we learned a tremendous amount today about autonomous ground vehicle technology. Some vehicles made it seven miles, some made only one mile, but they all made it to the Challenge, and that in itself is a remarkable accomplishment.”
All of the teams had to first pass the weeklong qualification, inspection and demonstration at the California Speedway after surviving the first cut from the original field of 106 applicants. Robotic Vehicles (Bots) that reached the starting line included all six of the Bots that chose to trust NavCom to help guide them through the obstacles along the route: Team CalTech, Team D.A.D., Team CajunBot, Team CIMAR, SciAutonics I, Terra Engineering.
Team D.A.D. spokesman Bruce Hall, whose Bot had the third best showing of the day, said “we are extremely pleased to have created a vehicle that went as far as ours did. Having high-precision differential GPS is an absolute requirement to compete in this challenge there is no question about that.”
"NavCom was thrilled that so many of the DARPA teams chose our technology as the best solution for their satellite based vehicle navigation and positioning,” said NavCom Director of Advanced Programs Dr. Peter Williams. “We would like to congratulate all of the teams that took part in this amazing trial. We know that it required long hours of hard work and some very creative thinking to even make it to the qualifying rounds. Finally we would like to join the chorus of thanks to DARPA for having the vision to set up this exciting challenge. It has produced some truly original thinking and it has advanced robotic technology in spectacular fashion”
NavCom’s StarFire™ Network and receivers are part of a global satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) that provides precise positioning accuracies within a few centimeters of truth, The StarFire Network, originally developed for NavCom parent company and agricultural giant John Deere, is used in land, marine and aeronautical applications in fields ranging from surveying and mining to military and defense.
NavCom Technology, Inc., a John Deere Company (NYSE:DE), is a leading provider of advanced GPS products for OEMs, VARs and system integrators needing high performance RTK systems, global decimeter level GPS satellite corrections, geodetic quality GPS receivers, wireless communication products and engineering consulting in the areas of precise positioning and wireless communications. For more information on NavCom and its products, please visit www.NavComTech.com or contact sales@NavComTech.com.