Tuesday, September 27, 2005

DARPA Grand Challenge National Qualification Event Starts Today.

The Darpa Grand Challenge, in which autonomous robots compete to see who can traverse an unspecified track in the desert the fastest, is warming up.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's competition is designed to draw out skilled robotics teams to build an autonomous vehicle that can manage difficult terrain and navigate on its own through harsh environments. Last year's grand challenge had a purse of US $1 million and no winner. Fifteen vehicles competed for the prize and none were successful.

This year the purse has been doubled and the site is in the desert and mountains near Primm Nevada, the exact route will not be revealed until 2 hours before the race begins on October 8th. There were 195 applicants this year and as of September 14th the field has been narrowed to 43 semifinalists. These semifinalists will face off in the National Qualification Event this week in Fontana California and the top twenty will go on to compete in the national event next month.

The 2005 DARPA grand challenge website contains complete rules and information as well as press releases about the event.

We are told that tracking information will be available from GrandChallenge.org during the race.

A few of the teams have been featured in the news today. For your enjoyment:

- The OC Register has an article about Team Cyberrider.
- MercuryNews.com has a piece on Team Underdawg.

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