Saturday, November 3, 2007

Little Ben making history

This is a historic day not only for robotics but also for Penn Engineering.
Little Ben has just completed a total of 19 complex driving missions in 6
hours while obeying all California driving laws. Congratulations to Dan Lee
and all members of the Little Ben team for this historic achievement! They
have all made us all so proud.

In addition to Little Ben, Stanford, CMU, and Virginia Tech have completed
the race, while MIT and Cornell are about to finish soon. Noone expected
six teams to complete the race, clearly indicating of how much robotics has
evolved over the past decade. The remaining five finalists dropped during
the first two hours of the competition.

There is a complex scoring formula that will be used in ranking the teams.
But regardless of scoring and ranking, completing the mission is the
greatest accomplishment, and, in our opinion, all teams are winners. You
can watch the official award ceremony tomorrow, Sunday from the DARPA
website at: . The (current) schedule is as follows:

Sunday, November 4
11:00AM EST Recognition of finalists
13:00PM EST Awards ceremony, press briefing to follow

Check the above website for potential schedule changes but also for great
highlights from today's race. There were some scary moments, even for
Little Ben. But in the end, everything worked.

We will be organizing a party for the return of the team, as well as a broad
seminar with Little Ben videos from the competition. More info on this

Congratulations Little Ben! What a fantastic day!

George J. Pappas
Professor, GRASP Director
Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering
University of Pennsylvania