• Nov 19th 2006 at 6:15PM
  • 10
Now this is what we call an upgrade: NC State University's Insight Racing team has scored a new set of wheels for the upcoming 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge. The team's Chevrolet Suburban, dubbed "Desert Rat" for the last DARPA challenge, which sent vehicles across the Mojave in the final event, will sit this one out. Instead, Insight will field "Lone Wolf," the new Lotus Elise which was presented to them by the automaker last week. In addition to the car, Insight will be receiving support from Lotus Engineering, who will help transform the sports car into the autonomous machine it needs to be to make it through the preliminary rounds and into the final Urban Challenge event. That task is made even more difficult when you consider that an Elise offers a fraction of the on-board space that was available in the Suburban. Expect to see plenty of innovation as they cram all the required technology into the Lotus' compact package.

The cruelest irony of all is that the Insight Racing team has to rig the Elise -- a driver's car if there ever was one -- to be completely driverless. We have a feeling that, given the chance, this is one instance where the engineering students would gladly forego the high-technology and get behind the wheel themselves. The 2007 DARPA Grand Challenge finale is scheduled for November 2007.

[Sources: NC State Technician Online & PhysOrg.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      hmmm if only the elise used an engine someone else also uses with a slush box... oh well ( :P ).

      that said, this should be fun, I'll be interested to see if vw is able to help a the stanford team adapt their auto-driving program to the stanford stuff... more automakers and college collaboration, me likey!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "uh, I dunno where it went! I guess we'll have to use the suburban after all. oh well... anyone want a ride to the cookout in my new elise? Oh yeah, it looks just like the donor car, but that's just a coincidence. this one's mine. really."

      I just graduated from NCSU in Mech Eng in 2005. I would've LOVED to have been a part of that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      sigh... lotus isn't the only company to use a toyota four pot, i seem to recall toyota adding an auto trani to it in many markets across the world, and there are already systems which have been designed to allow automated driving robots/systems to use manual boxes, i just dont feel like spending an hour looking for the vid on youtube.
      • 8 Years Ago
      One of my good friends is a Co-Founder of Insight Racing. The Elise was dropped off in Raleigh, NC for a big unveiling and after that he and I drove it 750 miles up to Ann Arbor, Michigan to drop the car off at the Lotus Engineering facility for the major mechanical modifications! That was the experience of a Lifetime!

      Check Their Website: www.insightracing.org
      • 8 Years Ago
      Though I'm not an engineering student, I'd also love to be a part of such car. :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      What is the point of this? It's not like they need a Lotus. They're going to load it up with half a ton of R/C equipment and radars and computers.

      It's not like these are pretty cars to begin with. Can you imagine how it will look with a 2-foot diameter radome on the roof?
      • 7 Years Ago
      How do I get to be a part of that car? Im partially a designer, can I give some input and then possible get to drive this car...

      I would probably have to take out a loan if were to ever own this lol...


      • 8 Years Ago
      I believe the point of using a much smaller car is to reduce the technology footprint.
      • 8 Years Ago
      if this car wins, can it be our new football coach?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ahh, how are they going to deal with a manual tranmission driving itself. That could prove interesting, considering we know Lotus doesnt offer an auto for the Elise.. or any of its current cars for that matter. (thank god)
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