January 9, Vol. 24, No. 24               

Driving the Future: CMU, GM Renew Agreement   
Carnegie Mellon has renewed its five-year agreement with General Motors to continue developing autonomous driving technologies.

The collaborative work builds on Carnegie Mellon and GM's development of Boss, an autonomous Chevy Tahoe that navigated 60 miles of traffic in less than six hours to win the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007.

Following that success, the partners established the GM-CMU Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab to focus on key automated vehicle technologies, including sensor fusion and system controls.

"We have a rewarding, tight-knit relationship with the researchers at GM," said Raj Rajkumar, the George Westinghouse Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Robotics at CMU and co-director of the collaborative research lab.

For the past two years, Rajkumar and his team have been designing, developing and testing a variety of autonomous technologies on a Cadillac SRX (pictured above).

Read more of the story.

CMU Revamps Semester in Washington, D.C.       
Six Carnegie Mellon students interested in international and public policy have arrived in Washington, D.C., to begin study in CMU's revamped Washington Semester Program (WSP), an effort that leverages the strength of faculty networks and their policy expertise in the nation's capital.

"This new Carnegie Mellon program allows us to shape the entire intellectual policy experience in Washington, D.C., for our students instead of having them attend capital-area universities for a semester," said WSP Director Kiron Skinner, associate professor of social and decision sciences and director of the university's Center for International Relations and Politics. 

"Many top-tier research universities have a presence in Washington that includes an undergraduate education component. This will give CMU students direct insight into how the government works and interacts with NGOs and other organizations in D.C.," Skinner said.

Skinner and Joseph Devine, associate dean of the Dietrich College, will each teach one Spring 2014 course at CMU's new D.C. office located on Capitol Hill in the United Methodist Building.

Read more about the program.

New Tools To Harvest Energy from Water    
Generating electricity from water is getting a facelift. Instead of creating large amounts of power in one place - from large dams or even small turbines in water treatment plants - there's value now in making tiny amounts of electricity anywhere there is a water source, from streams to water faucets.

Carnegie Mellon's Diana Marculescu is leading a multidisciplinary team to develop novel monitoring tools for placement and control of hydrokinetic generators throughout river systems nationwide.


"There is value in making small amounts of electricity anywhere there is flowing water, from rivers to the garden hose," said Marculescu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. "Energy harvesting from water is trapped in an archaic damming paradigm with high-up-front costs and ecological impacts. But rivers run to the ocean, and there is an enormous amount of kinetic energy that could be sustainably harvested."


Read more about the project.  

CHIMP Advances to DARPA Finals   

The Tartan Rescue Team's CHIMP robot has advanced to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge finals after its third-place finish at the trials in late December at the Miami  Speedway.

The four-limbed CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform, or CHIMP, robot scored 18 out of a possible 32 points during the two-day trials, demonstrating its ability to perform such tasks as removing debris, cutting a hole through a wall and closing a series of valves.

DARPA is sponsoring the Robotics Challenge to spur development of robotic technologies that could be used to respond to natural or man-made disasters, such as the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. 

Read more about CHIMP.

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Calendar Highlights 

 Personal Mention

Yongjie Zhang
Leonardo Balada
Jim Daniels
Reza Vali

Kathleen Carley, Garth Gibson, Metin Sitti and Richard Stern

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