By mduigou on Sep 09, 2010
When they eventually make a TV commercial about Shelley I hope that they include the disclaimer "Closed Road No Professional Driver". It sure is odd to see a car driving with nobody in it. Shelley's simplest driving demonstration already exceeds the James Bond autonomous car gimmick from two movies back.
We've now had three full days of testing at Pike's Peak. The testing is going very well and Shelley is performing flawlessly. Most importantly for me the Java systems have been performing flawlessly. If there's one thing I've learned on this trip is that tuning server VM performance is child's play compared to configuring DGPS repeater systems. It's really fun working on a team project like this with automotive , software, mechanical and control systems engineers and uber-mechanics. (OK to most people this probably reminds them of the "Deep Space Homer" episode--"A mathematician, a different kind of mathematician and a statistician"). The discussions around dinner have been really interesting and not all about autonomous cars.
It's rather exhausting working at 2900m (9500ft) and getting up at 0400 to be on the mountain by 0500 so that we can test the car with the road closed to tourists. Hot coffee is your friend. By mid afternoon everyone is starting to look a little dazed and slow. I've only made one trip to the summit so far (didn't get to try the donuts) and I felt a bit winded just standing there.
The Java system is the black box behind the two red switches. The red switches do not fire up the BBQ even though that's what they look like.