July 19, 2005
Challenging the Contest

Slashdot linked up this inside look at how two teams are shaping up to take on the 2005 DARPA Challenge:

The Grand Challenge pits autonomous vehicles against each other in a race across the Southern California desert. With no driver, these robotic cars use the latest technology in following GPS waypoints and avoiding obstacles. Last year, none of the vehicles finished the race, which proved that the Grand Challenge really was "grand". The winding 150 mile course from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada knocked out vehicle after vehicle. Most of the vehicles were eliminated just miles of the starting gate, with Carnegie Mellon's Sandstorm reaching the farthest distance of 7.4 miles, before clipping a fencepost and then slamming into a three-foot boulder.

The prize money's been doubled this year (to $2 million), so perhaps it won't be quite the amusing fiasco it's been in the past.

Posted by scott at July 19, 2005 08:31 AM

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It was amusing, but I wouldn't have called it a fiasco. The failures in last year's race provided important information (such as "don't give teams three hours to get their vehicles started" and "multiculturalism and LSD do not prove a team to be eccentric geniuses, just eccentric.")

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on July 19, 2005 09:50 AM
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