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Driverless VW in SA

2007-09-04 12:57

The Volkswagen Touareg Stanley

The Volkswagen Touareg Stanley, the winner of the driverless Darpa Grand Challenge, will be in Johannesburg later this month as part of its global exhibition tour.

Stanley made history in 2005 when it won the driverless desert race sponsored by the US governement's Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa).

The race required entrants to develop a vehicle that could cover a 220-km course across the Mojave Desert unmanned. 23 teams were entered, but only five completed the challenge.

Though based on a standard Touareg, Stanley has been modified into a mobile state-of-the-art laboratory.

Many of Stanley's technological solutions are linked to applications currently in production, like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning systems, road condition sensors and vision assistance systems.

Sensors and a combination of laser detectors obtain all the data required for the vehicle to make its way across rough terrain.

The vehicle's standard direct injection turbodiesel engine runs on SunFuel, a synthetic fuel derived from biomass. It produces extremely low emissions - up to 90% lower than that produced by regular fossil fuels.

Stanley will be on display at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown from September 22 to October 31. The centre can be contacted on 011 639 8400. An entrance fee is charged.

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