Core software technology portability and standard extensible PC hardware are key ingredients for delivering autonomous military transportation as well as promising commercial applications
Taipei, Taiwan, 6 October 2005, – VIA Technologies, Inc., a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced sponsorship of Team Jefferson, contenders for the US$2 million DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 autonomous vehicle race through the harsh terrain of the Mojave Desert from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on Saturday 8th October with their VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard-based vehicle, “Tommy.”
While the DARPA Grand Challenge was conceived as a way of accelerating a US Government mandate to develop autonomous military vehicles to reduce casualty rates among American soldiers, the technologies required to compete in the race have applications far beyond the military, such as in the transportation industry – mainstream automobile manufacturers are already investigating new applications for these technologies, including autonomous parking and assisted navigation for the handicapped.
“From both a technology and a market standpoint, Team Jefferson were an easy choice for VIA,” said Timothy J. Brown , Marketing Manager, VIA Technologies, Inc. “We share a vision that our versatile PC platforms together with their multi-purpose robotics operating system PRI-MAX will drive new commercial applications that will become key PC technology markets of the future. DARPA is only the beginning.”
“We are pleased VIA is supporting our mission to create winning autonomous transportation solutions,” said Paul J. Perrone, Team Jefferson Leader. “We’re already looking ahead to future innovations based on VIA’s compact, energy efficient platforms, with a clear focus on affordability, extensibility, user-friendliness and reliability.”
The Team’s vehicle, “Tommy”, features the advanced PRI-MAX software navigation platform from Perrone Robotics running on Sun Microsystem’s Java technology, powered by the VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard. Together with UGV application software, Tommy is imbued with the intelligence needed to survive, drive, and navigate the tough DARPA Grand Challenge course.
The DARPA Grand Challenge will serve as a showcase for the flexible PRI-MAX platform and UGV application framework, with the mobile autonomous robot concept having applicability across a wide range of personal and commercial as well as military applications.
Tommy has already passed several pre-race trial runs to qualify for this year’s DARPA Grand Challenge; for pictures of its progress, please visit the VIA Robotics Initiative webpage at: www.via.com.tw/en/initiatives/robotics/.
About Team Jefferson
Team Jefferson was originally founded and is led by team leader Paul J. Perrone of Perrone Robotics, Inc. as an effort to showcase Perrone Robotics’ Mobile Autonomous X-bot (MAX) software platform and other robotics software. Paul and company relocated from Northern Virginia to the Charlottesville , Virginia area (where he once studied at the University of Virginia ) during the summer of 2004 after procuring land for an initial Grand Challenge robotics proving grounds and a dedicated workshop. You can find more information about Team Jefferson and their robotic vehicle Tommy at the Team Jefferson website: www.perronerobotics.com/dgc/index_team.htm
About VIA Technologies, Inc.
VIA Technologies, Inc. (TSE 2388) is the foremost fabless supplier of market-leading core logic chipsets, low power x86 processors, advanced connectivity, multimedia, networking and storage silicon, and complete platform solutions that are driving system innovation in the PC and embedded markets. Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA’s global network links the high tech centers of the US, Europe and Asia , and its customer base includes the world’s top OEMs, motherboard vendors and system integrators. www.via.com.tw
Note to reporters, editors and writers: VIA is written in ALL CAPS.