“Ghostrider” is a robot motorcycle that drives itself, with no human intervention once it is underway. The motorcycle was the only two-wheeled entrant in the autonomous vehicle races of 2004 and 2005 sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The goal of the races was to stimulate invention for a future fleet of driverless military ground vehicles. Congress funded the competitions to support its directive that one-third of U.S. military ground vehicles be unmanned by 2015.
The robot is based on a Yamaha 90cc-engine racing motorcycle, a small vehicle designed for teenagers. For the 2004 race, the motorcycle was modified to carry two arms to right the vehicle after a fall; video cameras; computers; a GPS receiver; inertial measurement units (IMUs) to measure the angle of the vehicle; and motors to actuate the throttle, clutch and steering. For the 2005 race, cameras and GPS receiver were upgraded. “Ghostrider” covered with sponsor decals and race number: 7.
The group developing “Ghostrider,” originated at University of California, Berkeley, and called itself the Blue Team. Team members included leader Anthony Levandowski, who specialized in developing the robot’s software for obstacle avoidance; Charles Smart, in charge of programming the GPS and stability; Andrew Schultz, in charge of programming the electrical engines; Bryon Majusiale, team mechanic and frame fabrication; and Howard Chau, mechanical design .
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