DARPA Grand Destruction Derby

Tried to get the code I wrote all night to compile but I was litterally falling asleep on the keyboard. I made Jim get my stuff to compile and he had to delete large rows of ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss and such from the source code wherre I had fallen asleep and my hands had rested on the keyboard too hard. Fell asleep for about an hour on an air matress in the garage. Woke up to a tremendous wind that caused us to keep the garage door closed all day.

We did a practice run and did the U-Turn paved course. We did pretty well and it was the longest the car had driven autonomously with no one sitting inside ready to pull kill switches. Then we tried a S-turn course and failed miserably.

Jim and I cancelled a second practice and countless QIDs (qaulifying sessions) to try to tune the controller constants in the car. We ended up feeling certain things were wrong but when we tried to fix them the overall system was even worse. So we backed out our changes. Richard and Josh argued loudly that we needed to qualify that day so we drove over to the queue.

Jim decided that it was pointless to do a QID when we were at the same point we were the day before softwarewise. So he got richard in the car and they threw together some code that tied the final parts of there code together (basically finished what I had done the night before). Then Jim left and I verified what he had done (and fixed a bunch of bugs), then Richard looked it over. We finished this all up while we were in the chute.

So we decided to just go for it and run the new code. The truck came out nicely and turned when it was supposed to. Then came the sandbags. Our huge wheels just plowed right over them. Then came the fence with a narrow gap. We didn’t detect it and blew right through the (fairly beefy) fence part. Just plowed it right down. Then we came to the part where there is an old van parked in the middle of the street. Our car went right up to it and smashed into it. Oops. But we were so excited that it had even gotten that far down the course that we considered it a victory. There was no damage to the truck at all as it has a monsterous 1/2 thick custom made metal bumper. After that they wouldn’t let us continue becuase it was getting too dark.

6 of us went to dinner at Chevy’s and talked about what worked and what didn’t and tried to decide what the important things left to do were. We went back to the hotel and crashed, having been awake for 39 hours with basically no sleep.

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