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Stanford Robot Racer to Visit SLAC

(Photo - Stanley)Last year, Stanley dodged cacti, bushes and rocks to win a 132-mile car race across the Mojave Desert in under seven hours. That may seem like a long time, but Stanley is no ordinary driver—he's a robot, watching the road with a combination of RADAR, cameras and lasers.

On December 2, join area high school students to hear Stanford engineer Mike Montemerlo explain how the team got Stanley in racing shape and went on to win the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Montemerlo will explain what it is like to design a driverless car and be an engineer. Even though some robotics projects seem like they're just for kicks, "that's what I do," Montemerlo said. "I create really cool robots for a living." He will also discuss Stanford's preparations for next year's race, which will take place on mock city streets.

The event will bring together robotics teams from 17 Bay area schools. Many of these schools need technical assistance with design, electronics, mechanics, software, welding, machining, soldering and more. Members of the SLAC community who are interested in attending Montemerlo's talk or want to find out how they can volunteer technical know-how should contact Karen Pope at

The talk will take place in the Panofsky Auditorium. Sign-in will take place at 9:30 a.m., and the talk begins at 10 a.m. Space is limited, so an RSVP to Karen Pope is required by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28.

—Rachel Courtland
    SLAC Today, November 21, 2006

Above image: Driverless car "Stanley" won the 2006 DARPA Grand Challenge through the Mojave Desert. (Click on image for larger version.)