Robots, Start Your Engines!
UPDATE: Carnegie Mellon wins it. I managed to go this entire time without using the phrase "Autobot".
UPDATE: The results are in, after a chaotic robo-rally beset with bugs. Fortunatley, none of the contestants were armed. Anyway, CNET has a sweet photoset. It wasn't just a ball-bearings-to-the-wall rally, but an urban obstacle course in which the vehicles had to obey traffic laws as well. Not as easy as it sounds when none of the vehicles involved has an actual brain. Does this sound like traffic in your city?
robots finished the DARPA Urban Challenge within the allotted time
Saturday, a new milestone in the development of self-driving vehicles.
In the running for the $2 million first prize and $1 million second
prize are Stanford's robotic VW Passat, Virginia Tech's modified Ford
Escape Hybrid, and Carnegie Mellon's autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe. These
teams finished the urban challenge's three missions within the allotted
six hours and without significant problems.[/q]
First to finish the 60-mile race full of intersections, traffic, turns, parking challenges, and straightaways, was Stanford University's VW Passat, named Junior. Carnegie Mellon's Chevy Tahoe, Boss, came next, at 1:45 p.m., followed two or three minutes later by Virginia Tech's Ford Escape hybrid, Odin.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) crowdsources its development, offering a cash prize to the winner of a robot-operated auto race... the Grand Urban Challenge. May the best robot win.
"This is truly the first time we've taken robots and watched them interact with other robots," Whittaker said here Saturday before the start of the race. "They have not interacted so far."
As part of the competition, the robot cars must complete several driving missions within six hours at the closed air force base, which the government currently uses for military operations training in urban environments. The base is much like an environment where the government hopes to deploy autonomous cars by 2015 to complete missions like checking fence borders or clearing airport paths at night, Whittaker said.