What a difference a day, and night, make! After very little shut eye for some of us, we re-grouped again this morning at 5:30am. We loaded the new software revisions developed overnight by 8:00 am, and were immediately notified by DARPA that we were up for a full qualification run. So much for testing. At 9:30am, just as we finished the checklist, the DARPA officials escorted IRV to the track for our first qualifying run. There were several teams in front of us so we had to wait for nearly three hours before we could reach the starting gate.
Then with batted breath, IRV lurched forward for his first run. Immediately IRV hit a corrugated steel barrier. But instead of stopping IRV plowed forward.Nice work IRV! Then IRV followed the course taking a sharp left turn, missing obstacles, following GPS, and staying on course, for about 1.5 miles. IRV finally came to rest after barreling through several hay bales about half way through the course. This obstacle has been designed to cause problems and most of the teams have smashed it.
Immediately Scott and Doug called our first run a success considering we weren?t able to do any testing, especially in view of the fact that only 7 teams have been successful in completing the course. They were confident we had the software code base in place and lidar tracking well enough to make an attempt at a clean second run. One more late night!
We will set up for four-wheel drive tonight and run IRV through a series of practice sessions. We expect to be ready tomorrow morning for a second attempt at a challenging, but manageable course.
Finally, our PR team scored a nice hit with a placement from the Associated Press. Click Here for coverage on Yahoo!