39-year-old Stanford professor, Thurn, of electrical engineering and his graduate students built the world’s first self-driving car called Stanley (a Volkswagen Touareg). The group won the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 131-mile robot car race across the desert near Las Vegas organized by the Pentagon.
That DARPA Grand Challenge gave Thurn and his group a $2 million prize, some of which they reinvested in an even more intelligent Stanley (a Volkswagen Passat), which will be unveiled at the next robot car contest. The next challenge will be on regular streets with obstacles that include stop signs, lights, and cars driven by humans.
The car works with lasers that help it built a 3D image of the road along with videocameras, gyroscopes and accelerometers to help it determine turns and look out for obstacles on the road. An onboard computer helps Stanley adjust speed and the route it travels along with an emergency shutdown that is activated remotely.
The group has received funding from Volkswagen, Red Bull, Google, Intel and others for their project.
Source: CNN Money