"not so Grand Challenge"
The "Grand Challenge" is an annual robotics competition sponsored by DARPA. The task consists of driving an autonomous vehicle through 175 miles of unpaved desert (see 2005 rules). Although we would like to participate in this event, our limited research funds present an even "Grander Challenge", so we had to look for alternatives.
Since we have been working with small mobile robots for over a decade, and small autonomous vehicles have pretty much the same complexity and problems of the larger ones, we thought of creating the "not so Grand Challenge": The task is to autonomously drive around the CS/CE/EE building (or a university building of your choice).
The autonomous vehicle should start in a known location and may be given a map of the building environment. It should perform one lap around the building without any operator intervention and come back to its starting position. Any static and moving obstacles (people, bikes, cars, etc.) must be avoided autonomously.
We are looking for other universities to join the "not so Grand Challenge". With more interested parties, we could formalize the rules - and we may easily get more participants than the Grand Challenge.
Thomas Bräunl, The University of Western Australia, Perth
Jacky Baltes, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg