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Twenty-six DARPA Urban Challenge Teams Rely on Sensors from SICK


Laser Measurement Sensors help guide DARPA Urban Challenge Vehicles

Minneapolis, Minn., October 24, 2007. – SICK (, a global leader in factory and logistics automation solutions, today announced that its innovative Laser Measurement System sensors (LMS) are being used by 26 of the 35 teams during this year’s DARPA Challenge race – the Urban Challenge. The sensors use laser radar technology to help the vehicle navigate the terrain and avoid obstacles. In the 2007 Urban Challenge, the sensors will be used to locate curbs and ditches, detect people and other vehicles, and to see elevation changes in the roadway.

The Urban Challenge – sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – is a competition designed to test the speed and accuracy of unmanned vehicles in a simulated urban setting. Vehicles must avoid obstacles, merge into traffic, negotiate intersections, and other challenges in a mock traffic environment. The event, which will be held Nov. 3, 2007, requires vehicles to navigate a 60-mile urban course in less than six hours. The race is intended to further advance research and development of autonomous vehicles for use in future military operations.

Jerry Ma from Team Caltech adds, “The SICK laser sensors cover a 25 m radius around our vehicle. They are an integral part of our sensing system and allow our vehicle to detect obstacles and plan accordingly. Simply put, they are like the eyes of our vehicle. Without them, we’d more or less be driving blind.”

Insight Racing, whose vehicle is named the “Lone Wolf,” uses eight LMS Sensors. “The SICK LMS units are extremely accurate, durable and fast,” said Grayson Randall, Insight Racing team leader. “They were a key component to our success in our 2005 Grand Challenge and an integral part of our Urban Challenge solution.”

Depending on how they are mounted, the LMS Sensors can scan a vertical or horizontal plane. With a 180-degree scanning range, the LMS sensor collects 2D profiles that detect terrain and obstacles in front of unmanned vehicles. Used in the previous two Grand Challenge races, SICK LMS Sensors continue to be an integral component for guiding autonomous vehicles through various environments. With time-of-flight technology used to profile target objects, LMS sensors have the ability to prevent collisions in moving traffic.

“SICK has been involved in the DARPA Challenges from the beginning by providing a special below-market price on LMS Sensors and associated accessories,” commented Jeff Wuendry, SICK product market manager. “The participation rate of the majority of DARPA teams to use LMS sensors is a result of SICK’s commitment to developing cutting-edge technology for tomorrow’s applications. SICK is a strong proponent of autonomous vehicles and benefits from seeing how each team uniquely uses the sensors,” he concluded.


 Urban Challenge
 Vehicle Technology
 Laser Measurement System

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