Volkswagen's Fully Autonomous Passat Wagon "Junior" Claims Second Place at Darpa Urban Challenge

Press and News Volkswagen

Monday, November 5, 2007

Darpa Urban Challenge “junior”

VICTORVILLE, Calif. – Volkswagen of America, Inc. has announced that the Stanford Racing Team’s clean diesel Passat wagon TDI, “Junior”, has scored a second place victory at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge. “Junior” was one of only six vehicles to complete this challenging urban course.

“The DARPA Challenge is a tough competition and the team has pulled together a vehicle and autonomous driving system that handled the best that the course could offer,” said Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, executive director, Electronics Research Laboratory, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Junior” was able to skillfully and safely negotiate the three missions in this extremely challenging urban environment, and we are very pleased with our results.”

“Stanley,” a Touareg TDI, was the ideal vehicle to contest and win the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, the ultimate off-road autonomous driving challenge. This years clean diesel Passat Wagon TDI, “Junior”, was the perfect urban vehicle and Urban Challenge contender; with plenty of room for a family or for the brains and brawn of an autonomously driven vehicle.

Team “Junior” was lead by Stanford with assistance from team partners Volkswagen of America, Red Bull, Intel, Google, MDV (Mohr Davidow Ventures), NXP and ApplAnix. University

The DARPA Urban Challenge is an autonomous driving challenge where vehicles traverse an urban environment for 60 miles – merging with moving traffic, navigating traffic circles and busy intersections, avoiding obstacles and finding parking spots. 167 teams entered DARPA’s initial “Site Visit” in early 2007, 35 were chosen to advance to the National Qualifying Event. Only six vehicles of the final 11 vehicles that advanced to the final round of the DARPA Urban Challenge completed this year’s competition.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at

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VW Newsroom
Tom Wegehaupt


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