Autonomous Volkswagen Touareg “Stanley,” First-Ever Winner of the DARPA Grand Challenge, Comes Home to Silicon Valley for One Last Showing
Visit to The Tech Museum of Innovation Is Last Stop Before Stanley Makes Its Permanent Home at the Smithsonian
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stanley, the history-making autonomous vehicle developed by the Stanford Racing Team, returns home to Silicon Valley after a global victory tour. Showcased at museums from South Africa to Singapore, Stanley will be on exhibit at The Tech Museum of Innovation from June 20 through July 17. After the close of this exhibition, the robot will go on display at the newly renovated Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
“We hope that Bay Area residents will stop by to wish Stanley well before he makes his way to the Smithsonian later this summer.”
Stanley was the accomplishment of the Stanford Racing Team, a collaboration of nearly 100 technology and business experts from Stanford University’s School of Engineering, Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory in California, Volkswagen Research and Development in Wolfsburg, MDV–Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Intel. The Stanford Racing Team worked like a Silicon Valley start-up to design and implement this experimental robot vehicle, which is a modified biodiesel-operated Volkswagen Touareg.
Stanley earned its place in the history books in October 2005 when it became the first driverless vehicle to successfully navigate and win the Grand Challenge, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Stanley beat 22 other robot vehicles in the 132-mile course competition—without any human assistance—cruising through the Mojave Desert to complete the course in under seven hours. DARPA sponsored the competition to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles.
Stanley incorporates many technological advances that have since led to more advanced driver assistance systems in production vehicles, including adaptive cruise control and ESP (Electronic Stabilization Program).
A synthesis of these advances and other technologies allows Stanley to drive without human intervention. It “sees” the road ahead through special sensors, including radar, lasers, a camera system and Global Positioning System receivers. Advanced computer systems and artificial intelligence integrate these technologies to allow Stanley to have a sense of his environment and autonomously avoid obstacles and steer clear of trouble. Stanley demonstrates promising advances in artificial intelligence—or machine learning—and driverless vehicles.
Two of the Stanford Racing Team organizations, Volkswagen of America and Stanford University, continue their collaboration on automotive-related research through the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) on the university’s campus. Last fall, Volkswagen announced a $5.75 million contribution to Stanford for VAIL, its corresponding CarLab research and a new teaching program. The goal is to accelerate automotive-related research on campus, increase opportunities for collaborations between VW and Stanford, and build a global community of academic and industrial partners committed to the future of automotive research.
“I think I can speak for the entire Stanford Racing Team when I say that we are honored to have Stanley back in San Jose and at The Tech Museum. After touring some of the key international exhibition sites for technology history, it is appropriate he return home,” said Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, executive director, Electronics Research Laboratory, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We hope that Bay Area residents will stop by to wish Stanley well before he makes his way to the Smithsonian later this summer.”
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. regards the Stanley Project as a pioneer project and devoted a special exhibition to it in the fall of 2006. That presentation was followed by a tour that took Stanley to some of the key international exhibition sites for technology history, including the Science Center in Singapore, the Scibono Discovery Center in Johannesburg and the Traffic Centre of the German Museum in Munich.
The Stanley exhibit will be located in New Venture Hall on the lobby level of The Tech, where all visitors can see and experience the exhibit for free. The exhibit complements other interactive, hands-on exhibits and unique floor programs at The Tech that showcase not just how technology works, but how it affects who we are and how we live, work, play and learn.
About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, the world's fourth largest automaker and the largest carmaker in Europe. It houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company's headquarters are in Herndon, Va. Volkswagen Group of America brings to the U.S. vehicles that marry the science of engineering and the art of styling, with the goal of offering attractive, safe, and environmentally sound automobiles that are competitive and set world standards in their respective classes. The company has approximately 2,500 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through an 800-dealer strong network. With increasing popularity for its brands in the U.S., the company has set the goal of reaching one million car sales in the country by 2018.
About MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures
MDV has been a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm for 25 years. The firm funds and mentors entrepreneurs, scientists and young companies involved in redefining business, technology and medicine. MDV invests around three major themes: Driving the Digital World; Powering the Planet; and Personalizing Medicine. The firm takes a hands-on approach to architect and help build successful companies. MDV investments include: Agile (ORCL); Brocade; Epigram (BRCM); Genius; Gordon Murray Design; hi5; Nanosolar; ONI Systems (CIEN); Pacific Biosciences; Parallele (AFFX); Proofpoint, Rambus, Shutterfly; VaST Systems; Woven Systems and ZeaChem. Through the MDV Innovators Award the firm funds faculty-driven projects that have the potential to disrupt current thinking in a field or provoke new avenues of research. The firm has $2 billion under management.
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California - the Capital of Silicon Valley - its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org.
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