A group of researchers from University of the Bundeswehr Munich (UBM) showed off their MuCAR-3 last week at the European Land Robot Trial or ELROB held in Germany. MuCAR-3 stands for Munich Cognitive Autonomous Robot Cars and is the third version of the car.
The main idea here is for MuCAR-3 to automatically follow a lead convoy car. If that car stops or backs up, the MuCAR-3 does the same thing. This could be used in a military convoy setting to transport supplies.
The car uses a vision system and a LIDAR system to navigate. LIDAR is a technique that uses laser pulses to detect objects and distances from the object. The real goal is to allow the robotic car to classify objects in meaningful way by itself without human intervention.
In 2007, some of this research team participated in the DARPA Urban Challenge on Team AnnieWAY.
Click through for a video of MuCAR-3 from ELROB in 2009. Held in Finland, MuCAR-3 was the only vehicle to completely finish the race on a track with 5.2 km of dense forest.