We’ve already seen an example of Via technology being used on the road, but two young students, known as the Prodigies, have taken things a stage further with an entirely Robotic vehicle, dubbed the eXpediator. The four wheeled motorised vehicle, looks like one of the buddy cars fro the game Revolt. It can navigate and drive itself thanks to a VIA EPIA Mini-ITX based PC system, which acts as its brains. The eXpediator has been designed to cope with hazardous off-road conditions, which it will encounter on its upcoming DAPRA grand challenge. The prize at stake in this tough contest is a cool $2million US. With that much money riding on it, we hope the eXpediator doesn’t crash, either physically or electronically.
“VIA is proud to announce our sponsorship of the Prodigies for the upcoming DARPA Grand Challenge” said Timothy J. Brown VIA Robotics Program Manager. “Their ingenuity and zeal ensure these young geniuses will be serious contenders for the US$2 million in prize money.”
The Prodigies will be showing off the eXpediator at RoboNexus 2004, an event focused on the fast growing intelligent mobile robotics marketplace. VIA EPIA Mini-ITX will also feature at RoboNexus 2004 in robots from White Box Robotics with their 912 series robot and Milo the personal robotic assistant from RoboDynamics.
”The Mini-ITX form factor combined with an x86 architecture is an ideal solution for onboard processing in robotics applications,” said Fred Nikgohar, CEO RoboDynamics. “VIA’s ME6000 is the cornerstone of MILO, our first robot, and we are very pleased with the dedicated support of VIA and their Robotics Initiative, which has proved a key element in the success of our company to date.”
These two new commercially available robots are good examples of how x86 technology can be used to power robots that are affordable to the average consumer, and will be an affordable alternative to the likes of Sony’s AIBO.