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GM and Carnegie Mellon University Bring Self-Driving Chevrolet Tahoe to DARPA Urban Challenge Qualifying Rounds


Victorville, Calif. -- The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing Team, sponsored by General Motors and other partner companies, today enters the qualifying rounds of the DARPA Urban Challenge, which features driverless vehicles that have to conquer a simulated mission in a mock urban environment.

The Urban Challenge is a unique competition created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help accelerate technology development in military transportation. During the qualifying rounds, “Boss,” a self-driving Chevrolet Tahoe, developed by the Carnegie Mellon team in collaboration with General Motors and the other partners, will vie with 35 teams to earn the right to compete in the final event, which will be held Nov. 3 in Victorville, Calif.

The Tahoe was named “Boss” in honor of Charles F. (“Boss”) Kettering, legendary GM inventor and founder of the automotive industry’s first research organization. “Boss” is equipped with computer controls for driving and radars, lasers and cameras for driving assessment. Computer software replaces the human driver.

“We think this is a remarkable and very exciting way to advance technology,” said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and Strategic Planning. “GM is privileged to be part of the competition and we’re thrilled that our team has made it this far. The hard work of all the teams is moving us closer to fulfilling our vision for the automobiles of the future – vehicles that are electronically controlled, smart and connected.

“Technologies ranging from electronics, controls and software to wireless capabilities and digital mapping could ultimately change how people drive and use their vehicles, so the opportunity to work with the Carnegie Mellon team to accelerate their development is very important to us,” Burns continued. “We are definitely in the competition to try to win it, but what we’ve already gained is worth significantly more than the prize.”

Unlike most races, the winner of the Urban Challenge will be judged less on speed and more on performance as the robot vehicles navigate a 60-mile course in an urban setting complete with merging traffic, stop signs, speed limits and busy intersections, without a driver or even remote control.

In addition to GM and Carnegie Mellon University, the Tartan Team is supported by the following sponsors: Caterpillar, Continental AG, Intel, Google, Applanix, TeleAtlas, Vector, Ibeo, Mobileye, CarSim, CleanPower Resources, M/A-COM, NetApp, Vector, CANtech and Hewlett Packard.

General Motors Corp. , the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at