Home/Tartan Racing: A Multi-Modal Approach to the DARPA Urban Challenge

Tartan Racing: A Multi-Modal Approach to the DARPA Urban Challenge

Christopher Urmson, Joshua Anhalt, J. Andrew (Drew) Bagnell, Christopher R. Baker, Robert E. Bittner, John M. Dolan, David Duggins, David Ferguson , Tugrul Galatali, Hartmut Geyer, Michele Gittleman, Sam Harbaugh, Martial Hebert , Thomas Howard, Alonzo Kelly , David Kohanbash, Maxim Likhachev , Nick Miller, Kevin Peterson, Raj Rajkumar, Paul Rybski, Bryan Salesky, Sebastian Scherer, Young-Woo Seo, Reid Simmons, Sanjiv Singh, Jarrod M. Snider, Anthony (Tony) Stentz , William (Red) L. Whittaker and Jason Ziglar
CMU-RI-TR-, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, DARPA Grand Challenge Tech Report, April, 2007

Download: Adobe portable document format (PDF)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author’s copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


The Urban Challenge represents a technological leap beyond the previous Grand Challenges. The challenge encompasses three primary behaviors: driving on roads, handling intersections and maneuvering in zones. In implementing urban driving we have decomposed the problem into five components. Mission Planning determines an efficient route through an urban network of roads. A behavioral layer executes the route through the environment, adapting to local traffic and exceptional situations as necessary. A motion planning layer safeguards the robot by considering the feasible trajectories available, and selecting the best option. Perception combines data from lidar, radar and vision systems to estimate the location of other vehicles, static obstacles and the shape of the road. Finally, the robot is a mechatronic system engineered to provide the power, sensing and mobility necessary to navigate an urban course. Rigorous component and system testing evaluates progress using standardized tests. Observations from these experiments shape the design of subsequent development spirals and enable the rapid detection and correction of bugs. The system described in the paper exhibits a majority of the basic navigation and traffic skills required for the Urban Challenge. From these building blocks more advanced capabilities will quickly develop.

BibTeX Reference
title = {Tartan Racing: A Multi-Modal Approach to the DARPA Urban Challenge},
author = {Christopher Urmson and Joshua Anhalt and J. Andrew (Drew) Bagnell and Christopher R. Baker and Robert E. Bittner and John M. Dolan and David Duggins and David Ferguson and Tugrul Galatali and Hartmut Geyer and Michele Gittleman and Sam Harbaugh and Martial Hebert and Thomas Howard and Alonzo Kelly and David Kohanbash and Maxim Likhachev and Nick Miller and Kevin Peterson and Raj Rajkumar and Paul Rybski and Bryan Salesky and Sebastian Scherer and Young-Woo Seo and Reid Simmons and Sanjiv Singh and Jarrod M. Snider and Anthony (Tony) Stentz and William (Red) L. Whittaker and Jason Ziglar},
booktitle = {DARPA Grand Challenge Tech Report},
keyword = {urban challenge, grand challenge, tartan racing, autonomous car},
grantID = {http://archive.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/},
school = {Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University},
month = {April},
year = {2007},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},