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Robotic VW Touareg, For Viewing This Summer

Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Volkswagen Touareg

Robotic VW Touareg, For Viewing This Summer

Tom Bailey
August 10, 2006

This summer, everybody should get ready for a new form of life. This would certainly be the time for everybody to get to know the car that can actually drive by itself.

No, this is not a new kind of movie. This is the real thing. Just head out to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and you would find there the sport utility vehicle from Volkswagen that could do this amazing feat. This amazing vehicle is the Volkswagen Touareg and it can drive without the help from any human being.

This robotic vehicle was named as Stanley. And now, Stanley would be shown off – engine, lights, headlights, Volkswagen car parts, and all – at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History through the whole duration of this summer. It was during the DARPA Grand Challenge that Stanley made quite a name for itself. This outstanding vehicle took home the prize which amounted to a staggering $2 million. This Volkswagen Touareg had to compete with 22 other vehicles which were also not controlled by humans. They had to go through a rigorous challenge that took them to a championship where the robotic vehicles had to race through 132 miles of various types of terrain. The Volkswagen Touareg went through all these with only its onboard sensors plus its navigation equipment to show it the way to the finish line.

Dr. Carlo Rummel, the executive director of Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory or ERL, testifies, “This was the first time in history that a robot was able to accomplish such a long autonomous drive at such high speeds. It’s a major step toward ‘smarter’ vehicles. The technology we used in Stanley (the Volkswagen Touareg) leads to safer cars for our drivers, because the car is aware of the surroundings and can better react to the driver’s commands.”

The Volkswagen ERL had some assistance on the Volkswagen Touareg Stanley from the Stanford University. And the combination of skills, minds, and talents from these two groups made the Volkswagen Touareg drive itself without any help from humans. Processing of information that Stanley has goes through a Pentium 6 M computer.

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