Thursday, 1 November 2007
WE ARE IN! DARPA announced the finalists today in a ceremony at 11AM in the main tent. The first announcement that they made was that there would be only 11 teams in the finals. That was a far cry from the 20 teams they expected … and worse, 6 of the 11 were already known. The crowd was very quiet when this announcement was made. That left 5 slots for about 15 good teams, all of which were in the audience. These slots went (in order) to MIT, TeamUCF, AnnieWay, Honeywell/IVS and Oskosh which were added to CMU, Stanford, Ben Franklin (UPenn), Carolo, Cornell, and Virginia Tech. Of the 11 finalists, 7 had received the “Track A” award of $1M to build their car. Only four of us, AnnieWay, Carolo, UPenn and TeamUCF did not.
Other teams seem genuinely excited for us. Our friends at Insight (the Lotus folks) have graciously offered 2 spare laser scanners in case we lose one. Other teams have offered help as well. We can’t thank them enough since we don’t have the spares that other folks do.
This afternoon we expect to receive the route network definition file, but we will not know the actual missions we are supposed to run until the day of the event. We are supposed to get a chance to drive over the course sometime late today, but again the obstacles will not be placed and we will just be able to see if there is anything bizarre that might bother us (heck, there are simple things that bother us). We do a practice run in the morning at 8AM, then its off to the races Saturday. Wish us luck.