VIA sponsored vehicle "Tommy" gets knocked down, but gets up again to fight for DARPA grand challenge US$2 million prize

Press release; Michael McManus, DIGITIMES Asia 0

VIA Technologies today announced sponsorship of Team Jefferson, contenders for the US$2 million DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 autonomous vehicle race through the harsh terrain of the Mojave Desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Saturday 8th October with their VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard-based vehicle, "Tommy."

The team's vehicle, "Tommy", features the advanced PRI-MAX software navigation platform from Perrone Robotics running on Sun Microsystems' Java technology, powered by the VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard. Together with UGV application software, Tommy is imbued with the intelligence needed to survive, drive, and navigate the tough DARPA Grand Challenge course, a VIA press release stated.

However, survival is not easy in the Darpa Challenge. According to the latest news posting on the Team Jefferson website, Tommy suffered a devastating crash on October 3. But Tommy was brought back to life, with parts sourced from all over southern California and if Tommy could pass a 7:00am inspection on October 5, it would be the last robot to run in the qualifying event, and the only bot to run on Wednesday.

News updates on Tommy’s progress can be found here.

Team Jefferson’s Tommy
Photo: VIA Technologies