The upcoming DARPA Urban Challenge set to take place this fall will be an extraordinary test of autonomous systems being developed for automotive applications. Previous DARPA challenges contained entrants with all sorts of hardcore, computer-powered gear littering their exteriors. Giant rotating satellite dishes and rows of rooftop-mounted infrared cameras were a common site. The same will likely be true of many vehicle's entered in this fall's Urban Challenge, but one team will be fielding this rather sleek and normal-looking Volkswagen Passat TDI wagon.

Developed by Team LUX, which is sponsored and staffed by a company called Sick and its Ibeo automotive division, the LUX car will have just two laser sensors located up front and one in back to help it blindly navigate the Urban Challenge course. The team says despite the lack of ostentatious gear, its minimalist approach will still provide a full 360 degress of detection. The real test will be whether the Team LUX car parks itself on top of an undetected fire hydrant during the competition. AutoblogGreen will be on-site at the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge to bring us reports on which cars can successfuly operate without a master.

[Source: Engadget]

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