We had a much better qualifying run today. Our team motto is, "We don't want to peak too soon!" Our run took place early this morning at about 7:30am with the haze from the wildfires as the backdrop. IRV was quick out of the gate and dodged the first obstacle flawlessly. Even though DARPA had replaced yesterdays shiny metal panels framing the gate with matt black panels designed to fool the lidars. Horray! Then IRV climbed the first hill, took a sharp left turn to the first speed section and accelerated to our self imposed limit of 25 mph. Yesterday the hay pales posed a bit of a problem for us but not today. Again IRV's lidar's saw the straw and maneuvered to center between the rows. The next gate was a tunnel with a metal lining that causes the GPS to fail. IRV switched to internal navigation, centered itself in the tunnel, and exited on the centerline.
The next gate was a simple pair of cones at the entry to a turn, with a pile of (black) tires at the exit. A normal turn would bump the tires, and lidars don?t do well with black. We did ok, missing the tires, but caught the left cone.
On the next obstacle, a junk car in the center of the course, IRV missed detecting it soon enough. Even though IRV couldn?t turn quickly enough, slowing before the bump prevented any damage (not counting the broken taillights on the junker). More analysis is underway and we will be making more adjustments.
The results from the first round are in and it looks like we're in about 22 place, out of 43 vehicles. With a few more runs under our belts and more practice time, we should be better positioned to make the race.