With the professional and financial support from renowned industrial companies, the autonomous vehicle developed by the “Robot Systems” working group of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern has successfully completed the two off-road courses of the first European Land Robot Trial 2006 (ELROB). At the heart of the intelligent vehicle is the 19-inch industrial PC 96M1588 and the slot CPU card 96M42200 from DSM (www.dsm.ag). It also incorporates an independent navigation system called robust autonomous vehicle for off-road navigation (RAVON).
The industrial computers, which are designed for harsh environments, are responsible for controlling the vehicle, such as pointing it in the right direction, controlling its speed or planning its route. Additionally, they evaluate the data provided by the sensor systems installed in the vehicle and the two stereo cameras. Thanks to a wireless LAN (WLAN) card, the functions of the RAVON system can also be controlled by radio.
As the autonomous vehicles are able to independently overcome various types of terrain and drive around any obstacles, they are ideal for a number of tasks. Major conflagrations, whirlwinds, plane crashes and attacks on chemical factories or atomic power stations are only a small selection of scenarios.