Saturday Sep 04, 2010

Shelley @ Pikes Peak

Next week Shelley, the Java powered autonomous vehicle being developed by Audi and Stanford, will be visiting Pikes Peak for her first "on-the-mountain" trials. This is not the competitive event where Shelley will be trying to race up the entire mountain as fast as possible. There is still almost a year until the official hill climb event. This set of trials will be to evaluate how Shelley is driving so far and how her systems have come together. Most of the driving will be at low speeds, less than 10 km/h. Some higher speed testing is planned for smaller portions of the 11 mile track.

I will post a couple of updates throughout the week with photos of the team and Shelley in action. Right after we return from Pikes Peak, Marcial Hernandez and I will be doing a presentation S312929 : Java in the Real World: Experiences with Real-Time Java for Device Control at JavaOne 2010. We should have some really great stories and exciting video to share.

My recent contributions to the Shelley project have been to create visualizations for the Java safety system. I won't share the actual UI just yet as it's still in progress, but here's a small tease:

Screenshot of a Java Swing application showing two track views.

This shows two views of the same track. The left shows the entire track, in this case a short track used in testing at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, and the right track is a magnified view showing only two curves of the same track. The black dot on each view is the position of Shelley on the track. The maps used by Shelley are described as a series of curves. The map is a representation of the path Shelley should travel to traverse the road. Each curve consists of four parts, a straight segment, an entry segment, the curve proper and an exit segment. In this visualization the segments are red, green, blue and cyan respectively. On the magnified view there is a line drawn between Shelley's location and the track.

I will explain more about what's shown in the visualizations in future postings.

Wednesday Aug 04, 2010

Shelley @ Salt Flats

Image of 'Shelley', an autonomous Audi TTS at the edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats with a rainbow over the salt flats in the background

Photo credit: Marcial Hernandez

Shelley returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats last weekend for more testing. The Stanford and VW teams were focused on shaking out bugs in the driving algorithms and their map building code. This trip was also the first major trial where the Java Realtime system provided all of the GPS interfacing and data logging. The hoary old C code it replaces has been permanently and officially retired! Two systems down, with lots more to come!

I particularly like Shelley's new look with the Java logo out in front!

To hear more about the Shelley project consider attending the session S312929 : Java in the Real World: Experiences with Real-Time Java for Device Control that Marcial Hernandez of Volkswagen and I will be presenting at JavaOne 2010. We will have recent video of Shelley running on Pike's Peak and lots of details of our experiences developing Shelley and other embedded Java applications.

Wednesday Mar 31, 2010

Shelley Autonomous Car Update

Last week the Oracle team which is contributing to the Volkswagen-Stanford Shelley Autonomous vehicle project reached a significant milestone: Software running on the car during trials. During Shelley's testing trials last week the car was running Java-realtime application code for handling GPS data and controlling the CAN bus. In addition to this trial being the first time that Java-realtime and OpenSolaris are running on the actual car it's also the first time that Shelley has combined key systems into a single process.

The project is generating a lot of buzz with coverage from Fox News : VW, Stanford Build High Performance Robot Racecar with a piece that's apparently been running frequently for a couple of days. Also covered by CNET: Audi TTS "Shelley", Wired: Audi’s Robotic Car Drives Better Than You Do, San Francisco Chronicle: Driverless car to test out Pikes Peak climb. There's also coverage in German from silicon.de: Audis geisterhafter TTS "Shelley".

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

Video of Shelley

The photo of Shelley in my last post was just a taste. Here's more!

This footage was taken primarily at the Bonneville salt flats in September. Notice at the end of the salt flats segment how she has drifted out the Audi logo at 95 KM/H. There's probably not very many human drivers who could drive with this accuracy. With more time Shelley could just as easily drift out a picture of Duke, the Java logo or the Mona Lisa... try that puny human!

Tuesday Sep 30, 2008

JTRES 2008 - Workshop on Java Technologies for Real-Time and Embedded Systems

Last week the Santa Clara Sun campus was host to two high-tech summits, the JVM Languages Summit which you have probably already heard of but another summit, JTRES, was also held concurrently.

JTRES is focused on the application of Java for Realtime and Embedded applications. Many of the presentations and discussions focused on the existing Realtime Specification for Java aka RTSJ 1.0 aka JSR 1 but there were also a lot of interest in RTSJ 1.1 aka JSR 282.

The presentations also made it clear that Java and virtual machine technology have advanced significantly since Java Realtime was first conceived. The technology has matured through solving real-world problems--people are using Realtime Java and developing greater experience with it every day. The operating systems are improving, the JVMs are improving, the APIs are evolving and the application best practices are growing. Interesting challenges certainly remain; performance (always), scalability (always) but also the need to evolve to better support CMT and virtualization.

The conference keynote was delivered by James Gosling who has been a long time supporter of the Java Realtime initiative. My take away from the keynote was his question, which I've already been asking myself for a while, "Why not make realtime part of every JVM?" Game programmers need it, media applications need it, networking technology like JXTA can benefit from it. Realtime Java is also very well suited for embedded applications such as car computers, factory floor automation, consumer entertainment and communication devices.

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