Georgia Tech-SAIC Sting Racing Team Departs for DARPA Urban Challenge

Team headed to California to compete among 35 semifinalist teams from across the country

ATLANTA (October 22, 2007) – The College of Computing at Georgia Tech today announced that the Sting Racing team, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and Science Applications International Corporation [NYSE: SAI], has left for Victorville, Calif. to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Urban Challenge semifinals and finals events with their fully autonomous vehicle entry, Sting 1. The semifinal National Qualifying Event (NQE) is scheduled to begin October 26, with the final event on November 3 on the site of the former George Air Force Base. Georgia Tech-SAIC Sting Racing, composed of researchers from Georgia Tech’s Colleges of Computing, Engineering, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and SAIC, is one of only 35 semifinalist teams from across the country.

“We invite the public to join us in applauding the members of the Sting Racing team and their inspiring enthusiasm and commitment,” said Dr. Henrik Christensen, KUKA chair of Robotics for the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and principal investigator for Sting Racing. “With support from Georgia Tech, SAIC, and the local community, we are ready to compete among the world’s best robotics programs and drive our way into the Urban Challenge finals.”

For more than a year the members of the Sting Racing team have been working to prepare and program Sting 1, a Porsche Cayenne, to compete autonomously in this high-profile, national challenge. Combining the leadership and broad technological expertise in robotics at Georgia Tech and complemented by SAIC’s capabilities in robot vision and sensor fusion, the team has risen to the challenge of programming the vehicle to operate without a driver, stay on course, and deal with obstacles in its way, such as fellow cars, while maintaining realistic speeds.

 “Sting 1 illustrates the seamless collaboration the Georgia Tech-SAIC team members have demonstrated in preparing for the Urban Challenge this past year,” said Karl Kluge, SAIC senior scientist – perception researcher.  “With Georgia Tech as one of the nation’s foremost robotics research institutions and SAIC as a seasoned, two-time DARPA Grand Challenge contender, the Sting Racing entry is a strong contender in this Challenge.”

The Urban Challenge is the third in a series of DARPA-sponsored competitions to foster the development of robotic ground vehicle technology without a human operator, designed for use on the battlefield. The Urban Challenge will feature autonomous ground vehicles executing simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. DARPA will award $2 million, $1 million and $500,000 awards to the top three finishers that complete the course within the six-hour time limit.

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About SAIC
SAIC is a leading provider of scientific, engineering, systems integration and technical services and solutions to all branches of the U.S. military, agencies of the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. Government civil agencies, as well as to customers in selected commercial markets.  With more than 44,000 employees in over 150 cities worldwide, SAIC engineers and scientists solve complex technical challenges requiring innovative solutions for customers’ mission-critical functions.  SAIC had annual revenues of $8.3 billion for its fiscal year ended January 31, 2007. 

About the College of Computing at Georgia Tech
The College of Computing at Georgia Tech is a national leader in the creation of real-world computing breakthroughs that drive social and scientific progress. With its graduate program ranked 11th nationally by U.S. News and World Report, the College’s unconventional approach to education is defining the new face of computing by expanding the horizons of traditional computer science students through interdisciplinary collaboration and a focus on human centered solutions. For more information about the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, its academic divisions and research centers, please visit

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Stefany Wilson

College of Computing at Georgia Tech