Team 842 made the trip to DARPA and were surprised to see that we were the only FIRST team there. When we came back we listened to the radio, and the TV yet not one mention of DARPA. That proves that America really is not interested in science and technology. How could something so vital to our future be neglected by the media, but when some cleb is arrested for drunk driving it is on the six o’ clock prime time. Is this what Dean has been preaching since the start of FIRST? I am just disappointed with the turn out.
We had members of our team watching on the internet, myself included. We were hoping our local team, Team Oshkosh, would make it to the finish line. Does anybody know what happened that they didn’t finish?
The media’s priorities will always be screwed, but I agree that this is outright ridiculous. I could care less if OJ or Lindsey did something stupid again. Especially our local news, who is obviously hurting for news segments, as they’ve recently been outrageously boring and noninteresting. But it won’t change by itself. We need to challenge our national and local broadcast companies to try something different, and help the youth of America find these fun educational programs.
There are always at least 2 ways to look at a situation.
One way is to say there were few FIRST teams there that you saw.
Another way is to say – you – were there. Your team was there.
And another way is to know that some FIRST teams’ alumni are involved in the DARPA program and competitions.
Your team is a wise team in understanding the importance of experiencing science and technology: exploring exciting and challenging aspects in a variety of competitions and in field trips such as the recent one you took to visit the DARPA challenge. Your mentors were wise is planning this field trip and the team was wise in taking the time to experience it.
In my lifetime, the space program was been developed. Also in my lifetime, media has changed, developed, evolved – because of science and technology. How it is used to provide information to the public is an interesting topic for discussion, I agree. I’ve looked at your team’s website and it is full of information regarding the team, the team’s history, the team’s interests, projects, and competitions. That is a great way to get the word out supporting Dean’s homework. It isn’t the 6 o’clock news, it is better.
Teenagers in the FIRST program grow up into young adults in their twenties and thirties, hopefully remembering the mission of FIRST and staying involved in some way. The trick is often not to become negative about the program or the mission. As teenagers age, other interests crop up: college, careers, personal lives - and sometimes the mission of FIRST will change or alter through the individual’s life filter. It doesn’t have to, it probably shouldn’t, but it does. In your lifetime, science and technology will continue to develop and you will be a part of it. You are a part of it now.
Inspiration happened for your team during your DARPA field trip. You were inspired and are sharing that inspiration with photos and with threads in Chief Delphi. Likely, your experiences will become an interesting part of your website. By sharing the exciting experience and what you learned, it will encourage others, including FIRST teams, to make the time to visit and to share their experiences with DARPA field trips and with other exciting events. The cup is half full.
You can’t control what goes on out there in the world of media. You can control what you think is important. Continue being the role model and eventually, hopefully everyone else will follow. If they don’t, you know you are doing the right thing and rest easy in that.
I certainly would have gone to Victorville, but instead attended the SCRRF workshops at CSUN. One of our mentors, AJ, planned to go and root for Tartan Racing from Carnegie Mellon Univ (his alma mater). I’m guessing it was worth the trip for him ;)!!
I went to the starting line for the first DARPA Grand Challenge near Barstow back in 2004. I took my youngest son, Clayton (now a senior on Team 16 - Bomb Squad), and we had a blast! We especially enjoyed the small group of Caltech students who painted themselves with “Go Bob!” and led some chants as Bob, the Caltech entry, started on the course.
I was there and spoke to members of 842. I also spoke with the parents of some students who had been doing FLL and were just starting FTC this year (the students in question were at the event, just not right there at the time). 842 may have had the biggest FIRST representation there (I saw about a dozen of them eating lunch together), but rest assured, you were not the only FIRST representation there.
I also spoke with some other people who were in MATE, but not in FIRST.
I thought I saw some 842 shirts in the crowd, but we were all too nervous for our car to think of anything else. I hope you guys enjoyed the event as much as I did, it certainly was an amazing experience.
I haven’t been tracking this closely enough to know, but I do have a question: how hard would it be to start a DARPA team at a school that doesn’t have one? What is involved? Obviously a corporate sponsor; what else?
There have been a number of threads in the past about just this. In fact, there is a recent thread in which a number of people have expressed interest in creating an entry by joining skills from a number of FIRST teams.
Personally, I would say that it is a very difficult task for anyone, and would be rather difficult for a FIRST team to undertake. I’m certainly not saying that it couldn’t be done, and if you are really interested in it then by all means go ahead, however from my experience it would be near impossible to find enough hours in the day to work while still in high school (not to mention still having to work on the robot!). Our team consisted of about 13 members, each of which worked at least 20 hours a week on the project. In the last 6 months before the event most of the team worked on the car full time, putting in about 12-16 hours a day of straight work to get the project completed. A few team members even had to take this semester off to finish the AI and prepare for competition.
The complexity of the software required to control the car also makes it a very hard task. Actuating the car and running the wiring is a minor task compared to the work that goes into making the car think and drive on its own. Our own pose estimator (position and orientation) took about a year and a half to get fully functional, and required processing and fusing two different GPS units, a missile-grade IMU, and local world data from a number of sensors on the car.
That being said, the DARPA competition is an amazing event and if you’re still interested in entering (if there is another one) I say go for it. I guarantee, if nothing else, you’ll learn a ton and have a great time doing it.
I think the fact that it is not on the news, says more about the viewers then the media. Afterall, the media shows what “people” want to see. I just find it sad that people would rather see who got drunk at a hollywood party then the future of the automotive technology. (Oh well, I will always be to much of a tech head to understand society.)
Don’t forget that Stanford also had considerable help from VW, who both provided vehicles and implemented a full drive-by-wire system for them. A good deal of money is also needed for overhead for the project. It doesn’t all go directly into the car. We received $1M from DARPA (as did Stanford) as one of the Track A teams, as well as some additional funding and assistance from other sponsors. A large part of that money did not actually go into the car in the end. I’d say our car cost somewhere around $600,000-$700,000 in the end, but it’s hard to tell.
As for the length of time it took to build, most teams (not all though) have been working on the project since the competition was announced last April. There is much work that has to go into the project long before work on the car itself ever begins. We began planning towards the end of last April, and actually purchased our car in January. Actuation and control took about two months to develop (though revisions continued until about July), sensor interfacing took from last August to around June, and AI was under development from before the competition announcement until the day the car left for CA. The total number of man-hours that went into this project is no longer a number we can calculate, but when people say the project took a year and a half of their life they mean it.