It all came together today. We were able to detect and navigate through multiple obstacles with no intervention. Threaded obstacles (going between two closely spaced obstacles) and sequential serpentines worked ok.
The Attitude and Heading Reference System looks rock solid.
Ed Winslow loaded the final version of the Vehicle Control System (converts turn and speed commands from Pilot into voltages for the Drive-By-Wire system). This is a critical component of the system that we couldn't buy to our specs, so Ed and Brad Snodgrass designed and built one for us.
Since this is our last full day at Mojave Base Camp, we spent some time driving some of the trails logging LIDAR data to take with us "down the hill." This is the term that the locals in the high desert use to describe the cities that are down the Cajone Pass (3500 feet lower). One of the trails, the power line trail going toward Hoover Dam, was a real thrill ride. Narrow, rocky, steep, and rough, with a steep drop-off on one side, we logged it just after sunset. I suspect this is exactly the sort of trail DARPA will pick.
Hot and windy today. Thunderstorms were predicted but we got about 11 drops of rain. Humidity felt like less than yesterday's 7%.
Stars at night up here are amazing. I remember seeing these sites when I was a kid living in the country. But the crystal clear air, high altitude, and dark night are an amazing combination.
The creative engineers at Mojave Base Camp solved the bee problem. They took a tin bucket, (used earlier to simulate a "GPS failure" by placing the bucket upside down on the antenna) two Pepsis, and a quart of water, and set it 50 ft upwind. The bees flocked to it and left us alone. They drowned today by the hundreds.
Everyone is ready to get out of this place. Arid, windy, dusty, rocky, rough. Spectacular beauty, and real desolation at the same time. But the rumor is that they actually have beer in the city.
We will test tomorrow from first light until 10:30. Then we load the jeep in the trailer, break camp, and head down the hill by noon. We're required to check in to the Fontana Speedway by 5 p.m. Formal qualification activity starts Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. and runs for eight days.