Home Blog Archives RSS
June 6, 2008

¶ Urban Challenge log files public
We've made our Urban Challenge race log files public, along with software for viewing the log files. Software requires a GNU/Linux system (we used Fedora Core 6 and Ubuntu 7.04). Running the viewing application with the log files basically shows our car's point of view for the entire race. If you followed the race and are curious about what happened to MIT at specific points (e.g. the collision with Cornell, or trouble on the dirt road) then this could be a fun thing to look at.


May 17, 2008

¶ Thesis Proposal
Over my many years as a professional student, I've found that it helps to set goals for each semester. Early on in this semester, I decided my goal would be to submit an official thesis proposal. That meant coming up with a coherent proposal, forming a committee, and getting a few signatures. Yesterday, I turned it in. Yay! And not a moment too soon, seeing as the semester is now pretty much over.

Ed turn in his doctoral thesis today, and Alex and I documented the process. We walked with Ed from our building to the EECS graduate office, Alex taking photos with Ed's camera, and me with a little camcorder. It was an odd little procession, with much fanfare from the three of us. The folks in the graduate office were highly amused. When you turn in your thesis, they give you a little receipt, which is pretty much the official notice that you have satisfied all of the departmental requirements to be granted a PhD. So many years, for such a small slip of paper!

On Sunday, most of our lab is heading off to the International Conference on Robotics and Automotion (ICRA). Yoshi and David will be presenting some aspects of our Urban Challenge work. I haven't been to ICRA before (or any pure robotics conference, really) so it should be fun!
October 28, 2007

¶ DGC NQE updates
CSAIL is keeping a blog/news site with updates from the Urban Challenge as it happens.


I probably won't update this blog much for the next few days (or until the race is over?) as I'm generally too exhausted after each day to do a whole lot other than collapse in bed. The good news, however, is that our initial runs are very promising, and people are starting to notice as as serious competitors =)
October 22, 2007

¶ Santiago Fire
The marine base was closed again this morning. They let us in for about an hour starting at sunrise, but then the northern part of the base caught fire and so we had to leave. We tried going to the Ford parking lot, but that's directly downwind of the fire and it was raining soot and ash there, so we ended up leaving. Haven't had much luck otherwise, and today has pretty much been a bust for testing. Although considering everything else going on in the area, it feels like we should just be thankful that we haven't been in mortal danger yet.

I found a graphic on www.ocregister.com that gives a good idea of the extents of the Santiago fire, the one affecting us. I added some green blobs to show where our practice grounds and hotel are with respect to the fire. It's a bity scary...

October 21, 2007

¶ Irvine Wildfires
In the end, we were able to get some testing done today. Ford has a big research center in Irvine, and there's a large, unused parking lot that they let us use. It's not as good as an actual urban road network, but it's better than nothing and we were able to do some productive traffic behavior and e-stop tests.

We'd been hearing reports of wildfires spreading throughout the LA area throughout the day, but didn't actually realize how close they were. Then one minute we looked up and realized -- holy cow they're practically right next to us!

Turns out that they were even closer than that. Just a few miles down the road from our hotel, the hills were ablaze. On our way home, we swung by the shopping center where we usually get lunch, and there were dozens, probably hundreds, of people just standing on the side of the road watching Irvine burn. Seth, David, Ed and I stood there mesmerized, looking at these vast expanses of hundred-foot tall flames sending soot, smoke, ashes, and embers flying everywhere. I climbed up on a backhoe to get a better view, and overheard a group of high school students contemplating the fate of their school, which was within a stone's throw of the fires. People began ignoring traffic rules and parked their cars almost in the middle of the road, got out, and just stood there watching. It was quite a sight, and definitely not the sort of thing you'd see in Boston.

mp3 download download mp3
• Powered by bBlog