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Driverless car makes way around UA as part of international contest
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Driverless car makes way around UA as part of international contest

A driverless car maneuvered around the University of Arizona on Tuesday, as students from across the globe descended upon the campus to test out software they wrote to operate the vehicle.

The testing was part of the CAT Vehicle Challenge, in which student teams wrote software in a 3-D simulated environment to drive the UA’s Cognitive and Autonomous Test, or CAT, vehicle.

The challenge, held at the UA this year, is supported by a National Science Foundation grant and by MathWorks, a Boston-area company that makes the Simulink 3-D software the students used for system design.

UA associate engineering professor Jonathan Sprinkle is a co-principal investigator on the project, part of the NSF’s Cyber-Physical Systems Virtual Organization, with principal investigator Janos Sztipanovits of Vanderbilt University and others.

Finalists from Chile and Switzerland, and the states of Georgia and Missouri were among nearly 100 competitors to participate alongside UA students in the final round of the CAT Vehicle Challenge.

Teams completed a series of tasks leading up to Tuesday’s final challenge, including identifying obstacles using the fewest sensors possible and methods to estimate velocity to follow the trajectory of objects.

During the final test, teams generated a 3-D simulation world that mirrors the world the CAT Vehicle, a modified Ford Escape, was driven through.


David joined the Star in 1997, after working as a consumer and business reporter in Phoenix for more than a decade. A graduate of Ohio University, he has covered most business beats focusing on technology, defense and utilities. He has won several awards.

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