MELBOURNE, Florida, May 23, 2005 – Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) today announced its support for Carnegie Mellon University's Red Team in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Grand Challenge 2005 to be held in the southwestern U.S. on October 8. Harris is providing both engineering manpower and funding to the Red Team, which fielded the unmanned vehicle that traveled farther and faster than any other competitor in last year's inaugural DARPA Grand Challenge.
Using U.S. Congressional authority, DARPA created the annual Grand Challenge to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technology to replace manned vehicles in dangerous missions and help minimize loss of lives on the battlefield. DARPA will award a $2 million cash prize to the Grand Challenge 2005 team which builds a completely autonomous ground vehicle that successfully travels approximately 175 miles of treacherous desert roads and trails without human intervention and in the least amount of time (maximum of 10 hours). It accomplishes this using a combination of preplanned route locations referenced and tracked via GPS, and on-board sensors that estimate obstacle locations and road conditions. Types of on-board sensors include scanning laser range finders, radar and optical image recognition systems.
The Carnegie Mellon University Red Team, under the direction of famed robotocist Dr. William "Red" Whittaker, will compete in this year's Grand Challenge with two entries based on AM General's HWMMV (Humvee) vehicle design. The Red Team's "Sandstorm" will return to defend its 2004 distance and speed record, and a new H1 design dubbed "H1ghlander" will be prepared by the Red Team for qualification. Forty participants will compete in a national qualification event at the California Speedway in Fontana that will narrow the field to 20 race-day competitors.
"We see this competition as a historic event in the advancement of robotics and an opportunity for Harris to showcase its navigation and systems integration expertise," said Bob Varley, senior systems engineer at Harris Government Communications Systems Division (GCSD). "We're delighted that we've been able to provide funding for both of Carnegie Mellon University's Grand Challenge entries as well as a full-time, on-site systems engineer who is providing navigation system design and race route planning for their Red Team."
Harris GCSD is a key stakeholder in the expansion of autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs) for the U.S. intelligence community, and U.S. military and homeland security forces, supporting a doctrinal shift to utilize unmanned platforms for surveillance, defensive and offensive roles as a complement to manned assets. Sponsorship of Carnegie Mellon's Red Team underscores Harris' commitment to the future of advanced communications, unmanned vehicles, robotic systems and advanced machine intelligence.
More information about the 2005 Grand Challenge can be found at DARPA's web site at http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge. and on Carnegie Mellon University's Red Team web site at http://www.redteamracing.org.
Harris GCSD, one of four divisions within Harris Corporation, conducts advanced research studies, develops prototypes, and produces and supports state-of-the-art, assured communications solutions and information systems that solve the mission-critical challenges of its military and government customers, while serving as the technology base for the company's diverse commercial businesses. Harris Corporation, which also provides tactical radio, microwave, and broadcast products and systems, serves customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit www.harris.com.
# # #
Government Communications Systems Division
Harris Corporate Headquarters