Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

DARPA Challenge Prize Money Restored 119

Posted by Zonk
from the yay-now-the-robots-can-buy-clothes dept.
antispam_ben wrote to mention that, some three months later, DARPA has been able to find the money to offer cash prizes once again. The DARPA Urban Challenge will go forward next November with more than $3 Million on the line. From the article: "The race will see as many as 90 teams 'drive' an unmanned robotic road vehicle through city traffic, competing to finish a 60-mile course within six hours. Set for November 3 of next year, the challenge will call on robots to safely obey traffic laws, negotiate busy intersections, merge into moving traffic, avoid obstacles and navigate traffic circles. DARPA has yet to disclose the race location, but has said it will be in the western United States. The government research group didn't unveil the 2005 Grand Challenge location in the Mojave Desert until weeks before that race, in order to avoid giving any team an advantage."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DARPA Challenge Prize Money Restored

Comments Filter:
  • Just hit the cruise control, and go to sleep! It's a less expensive, and a whole lot more fun!
    • by megaditto (982598) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:29PM (#17188948)
      I know you are just kidding, but if you think about it, robotic driving is not rocket science, exactly.

      If you think about it, all the robotic drivers in computer games such as Grand Theft Auto are pretty damn good, and can follow rules and stick to routes much better than their human opponents. So, driving/navigation algorythms have been developed a decade ago, all they need is a good way to recognize their surroundings.

      With this in mind, this whole driving challenge is a problem no different from OCR or voice recognition.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This is probably what you're referring to when you talk about their surroundings, but the drivers in GTA are really bad. Sure, they can go forward and left and right on randomly generated courses, but as soon as you mess with what they're expecting they get fucked up. Lots of times they'll crash into each other, flagrantly disobey the rules of the road to get around things, run you over, or just all stop at a junction for no reason in an extreme version of rubbernecking. Simple algorithmic drivers like thes
      • by brusk (135896)
        With OCR or voice recognition, 99.5% accuracy is pretty good. Most such software can learn from its mistakes as it's "trained" on a particular user's body of input.

        That's not exactly feasible with vehicles moving at 100+ kph. It's not like we can say, "Okay, a school bus just plowed into an oil tanker, let's tweak the algorithm."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tulsaoc3guy (755854)
        When I was 18 and knew everything, I used to think everything was easy also.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ZeroExistenZ (721849)
        Coïncidently I've seen a documentary about the second challenge [torrentreactor.to].

        In the first challenge the teams, composed fo bright fellows, all failed exactly because it isn't so straightforward.
        The difficulty would exactly be adaptive decisionmaking of the robots; would DARPA (a military instance wanting automated vehicles) put in 2mio USD if it were as easy?
      • by Splab (574204)
        In a game you got a controlled enviroment, you can pick out anything you need information about and calculate it's position precisely. In the real world small things like change in lighting condition or wind can seriously screw with your ability to figure out where you are, the math behind staying on course during windy conditions or cleaning up pictures is very tough and can be very hard to do on a robot.
      • The problem is not really about the driving/navigation algorithm. You are right that computers are pretty good at following rules and navigation. If you have any experience with robotics, you will know that the hardest part of the software to analyze the data from the sensors. GTA AI drivers live in a simple simulated environment and it knows all the details of its environment well. It is totally different for real robots, the software needs to perform tonnes of DSP to process the data from sensors to extr
      • But the mention of those pesky traffic circles is interesting. Are we getting ready to invade Europe?
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The algorithm (steer down the middle of the road and avoid obstacles) is not the problem. The problem is machine vision, or interpreting the sensory data about your surroundings. This is a heck of a lot easier to do in a game where your "surroundings" are virtual and created by the same program than it is do to in the real world! In other words, a game already has an accurate model of its surroundings that is updated precisely in real time, and never encounters any object that isn't programmed in. An autono
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dslauson (914147)
        Video game driving algorithms rely on a discretized version of the world, meaning there is a finite set of possibilities for everything. There are far more possibilities in the real world, and a real-time system like this must take them all into account.

        You have a point that this does boil down to the problem of reducing a car's surroundings into meaningful data, much like in OCR or voice recognition, but there is VASTLY more data in the real world than there is in a single image or audio file.

        Humans have
        • by megaditto (982598)
          In a race situation, especially one with moving obstacles, that's just not an option.


          Isn't this DARPA challenge supposed to be looking for novel, revolutionary, out-of-the-box solutions to dealing with moving obstacles, unstable road, and confusing nav clues at 10 mph?

          Oh, here is one: how about you let the robots drive a GPS-equipped BULLDOZER!
  • Spooky (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baricom (763970) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:46PM (#17186904)
    I wonder who's going to be driving the other cars? In the previous races, the robots were traveling through a closed course with no traffic.
    • Re:Spooky (Score:4, Funny)

      by DrunkenTerror (561616) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:48PM (#17186914) Homepage Journal
      They should get robots to drive the other cars too.
    • Re:Spooky (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phleg (523632) <stephen@touset. o r g> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @06:16PM (#17187506)
      To prefix my comment, let me just say that I am currently on the Georgia Tech team, Sting Racing [stingracing.org]. According to the rules, we will be on the course simultaneously with the other cars. The other other vehicles allowed on the course will be professional drivers. AFAIK, this is not being done in an actual city, but a small-ish mockup is being constructed for the purposes of the event. I could be wrong, though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phleg (523632)
        Botched the URL. It's http://www.sting-racing.org/ [sting-racing.org].
      • This is a neat challenge. But, make sure as a student team you don't neglect your formal "not so fun" coursework. Make sure you're not the equivalent of a high-school "cup-stacking" champion who trains hard stacking cups, but graduated high school with weak academics... you're not going to learn everything you need to know from college by spending your academic year on such projects.
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          A bunch of these are probably for school credit or even for a class (I think Stanford made it its own class but I'm too lazy to check the course guide). Furthermore the top teams are mainly grad students, probably ones who are doing specializing in robotics and likewise for credit (I think the Stanford team had one undergrad and he wasn't allowed to do much important stuff). In other words for them this is much better than the coursework which they've potentially already maxed out.

          Also in terms of employmen
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Dean Hougen (970749)
        The other other vehicles allowed on the course will be [driven by] professional drivers.

        Sure, in the actual competition. But in the individual team practice sessions at their home institutions? Grad students. Don't deny it.

        Dean

      • I graduated from Tech back in 2004. At the time, the Robojackets student org wasn't up to entering DARPA. Nice to see an organization on campus ready and trying.

        Good to see some names I know on the list of people, too!

        Good luck!
    • LA, erratic drivers will go largely unnoticed there.
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:49PM (#17186926)
    I sure hope it's a closed course, because I'd hate to be t-boned by an errant robotic Touraeg.
  • Yeah! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:57PM (#17186988)
    DARPA San Andreas baby!

    Actually, what I meant to say is that I'll be playing San Andreas in the automated vehicle while it safely navigates traffic--something I can no longer do after playing the GTA series. It is just too tempting to run down pedestrians and try to steal nicer and faster cars!
  • by ductonius (705942) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:59PM (#17187006) Homepage
    ... road vehicle through city traffic, ... it will be in the western United States

    Will additional points be awarded if they successfully navigate the LA aqueducts, find Sarah Conner?
    • by Xentor (600436)
      No, but they get bonus points if they can navigate the LA aqueducts and get Eleanor, the Shelby GT, to the docks before 8am!

      (Seriously, there must have been dozens of action movies filmed in that location)
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:04PM (#17187044) Journal
    navigate traffic circles.

    No American is going to win this one...
    • As traffic circles become more common throughout the U.S., perhaps demand for robot chauffers will increase.
    • navigate traffic circles. No American is going to win this one...
      Who got this stupid notion that the United States doesn't have traffic circles?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Who got this stupid notion that the United States doesn't have traffic circles?

        Nobody said they didn't. But have you ever sat around watching Americans try to figure one out? (Actually new england apparently has enough that new england natives can figure it out as long as there aren't any foreigners screwing things up)
        • Who got this stupid notion that the United States doesn't have traffic circles?

          Nobody said they didn't. But have you ever sat around watching Americans try to figure one out? (Actually new england apparently has enough that new england natives can figure it out as long as there aren't any foreigners screwing things up)

          Only once in my whole entire life I have seen someone do something entirely stupid in a roundabout. You'd have to be an idiot to screw up it but the only time is when someone started backing

        • same here in Oz (at least, in Perth).. noone can seem to figure out how to enter/leave a round-a-bout (traffic circle), or merge two lanes into one.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I live in Chicago and there was a traffic circle by my old apartment - one of the ones they just throw in the middle of the intersection. There were two one-way streets and only one had a stop sign. Each car that came by seemed to go a different way around that thing...and barely any of them obeyed the stop sign. I'm surprised I never saw any accidents there, although one time it was pretty close. The robot drivers can't be any worse at going around them than the human drivers, especially if they are progra
    • For other brits out there, I've just googled "traffic circle" and I can confirm that the yanks haven't just made up another term for "roundabout".

      No, in this case they've also entirely buggered up the fundamental design too!
      http://www.alaskaroundabouts.com/mythfact1.html [alaskaroundabouts.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Charcharodon (611187)
      Yeah but the British team is going to go around to the left and end up getting in a head on with a HUMVEE

      For those of you unintiated to the wonders of British driving, anyone that tells you to get a right hand drive car to "help" you get into things more quickly should be punched in the throat. Drving on the left hand side of the road, in a right hand, manual car, traffic circles, and all the signs being unfarmiliar makes you feel like you are dislexic and sixteen again.

      The first week of driving in t

  • Yay congress. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yath (6378) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:07PM (#17187070) Journal
    From the article:

    But after much complaint from contestants, Kenneth Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, approved the prize money.

    No doubt the driving force behind this decision came from the folks at DARPA. First congress tells them to develop autonomous vehicles, then it proceeds to trip up their efforts with the "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act".

    What I'd really like to know is why they're pushing this technology so hard and fast. Does it make sense to go straight to an urban environment when only four constestants even managed to finish the last challenge?

    • Re:Yay congress. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ductonius (705942) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:19PM (#17187144) Homepage
      Does it make sense to go straight to an urban environment when only four constestants even managed to finish the last challenge?

      They didn't need everyone from the last challenge to have finished it. They only need one.

      The fact that they got four finishers last time means the cross-country technology works. Now that removing the remaining bugs and improving cross-country technology is just a matter of time and money they can move onto the next step: urban driving.
      • by mikiN (75494)
        Erh..m. This move sounds to me like taking a toddler who can barely walk to the other end of the room, dropping him off in the middle of Times Square at the top of rush hour, then telling him to walk home to somewhere in Queens and be there by 7 PM. Moronic, in other words. I hope and pray there will be no human casualties.
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          No, you simply have no idea what you're talking about. The point of this is not to be so easy that 5 teams win the first time but to be challenging, with an assumption that likely no one will win the first time (or second, or third even, etc.). And yes, NYC is so much like driving through a fake city where the other drivers are all professionals with most likely very well reinforced cars. Hey, let's ban Nascar as well since it's probably 100 times as dangerous to human life as this ever will be.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      What I'd really like to know is why they're pushing this technology so hard and fast. Does it make sense to go straight to an urban environment when only four constestants even managed to finish the last challenge?

      Because IEDs are the #1 killer of US troops in Iraq. Normal combat casualties (gunfire, rocket, and mortar attacks) are almost negligible compared to the number of troops that are killed are injured during convoys or patrols due to roadside bombs.

      Getting the human soldier out of the equation would
  • by skelly33 (891182) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:12PM (#17187106)
    but, while as a software engineer and electromechanical hobbyist I fully appreciate all the challenges involved with these robotic drivers, I'm just not impressed by systems that have courses plotted into them and use GPS and high resolution maps and intimate fore-knowledge of the landscape, etc. As a driver, -I- don't need that fore-knowledge to get from Sacramento to Manhattan - thousands of miles successfully navigated without any more fore-knowledge than that I have to travel generally North East through many states.

    I will be impressed when driving automation systems can start with a general idea of where their source and destination locations are and can read the signs to figure out how to get there. They must use perceptive powers to avoid colliding with other drivers or running down pedestrians and following the rules of the road instead of range finders and lasers and GPS-based speed limit adherance and other such nonsense.

    Until the system can be boiled down to a pair of eyes and a pwerful set of smarts driving , in my view, it's just an elaborate obstacle course being followed by the likes of this robot [robotroom.com]. I understand "baby steps", but "they" tend to avoid tackling these big challenges and instead continue to focus on these contraptions that just, plain aren't smart enough.

    IMHO, of course.
    • If I remember correctly, the last challenge had random things placed on the roads and in the paths of the vehicles, including ditches, and the vehicles managed to detect and work around those. Although I completely agree with you, I think it is indeed working towards those goals. Urban driving with lots of tunnels will probably help with reducing the dependency on GPS an it will be interesting to see the system evolve.
    • The problem as you outline it is a fairly different one than what is really needed. You want robotics to do what we do. DARPA wants robots to accomplish the same task. Its a similar but distinct problem.

      If we can make a robot drive a car using gps, maps and lasers, then once the computer vision technology progresses far enough, we will be able to use that input (signs, etc) in place of the maps. Regardless, it may be solving the wrong problem to even WANT robots to do that. If you can hop in an automat
    • Read signs? Seriously if we are going to have robotic cars, I would only trust them on roads with radio transmitted signs. How hard is it to have signs in the road that say, which lane to get into, and what the speed limit is and whatnot. A fairly cheap implementation, and would allow you to have roads for robotic cars, and roads that only humans are allowed to drive on.
      • Yes, one of the few areas where I think RFID *should* be used. :) You could embed RFID tags in the asphalt where passing cars could get all kinds of data... lane information, speed limits, etc. Just an idea though. ;) It would sure make our job a lot easier! Our team has a lot of work to do before the race next November!
        • You're involved in this project and only replied to this one comment? Should I feel honored.

          Yea I looked at your profile hoping to see if you made other insightful comments to this article.
        • by skelly33 (891182)
          A couple responses from the feedback on this topic so far...

          First, to the above, I've heard of this use for RFID and I've also heard of permanent magnets as invisible "tracks" embedded in the pavement. A quick glance at the CIA World Factbook [cia.gov] reveals that there is about 6.4M km of paved roadways in the U.S. I just prefer the approach of a smarter information processing system that can make decisions as intelligently as a human driver without retrofitting that much pavement with something that, for all it'
    • by Twisted64 (837490)
      Rangefinders perceive things. They're probably more exact than your eyes, but why not use them for a robot? It still has to use the distance perceived on the fly. Using two beams to judge distance is so old-school (The Dambusters!). A GPS may be cheating if used to detect speed limits, but I reckon it'd be fine to run OCR on for a map, tell you speed and distance etc. A lot of people use them now, so it's not unrealistic.
    • If you'd seen the talk at google [google.com] by last year's winner, you'd know that it's not as simple as you've made it. They're given GPS coordinates only shortly before the contest begins, in an effort to make sure nobody tries to precalculate the entire path etc (not sure what the input will be this time around). Not that it matters, as it would be hard to determine navigability with a simple 2d overhead satellite image. And they still need collision prediction & avoidance to avoid pedestrians and traffic (not
    • by Phleg (523632) <stephen@touset. o r g> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @06:27PM (#17187566)

      I've posted elsewhere in this story, but again to prefix my comments, I'm a member of the Georgia Tech team, Sting Racing [sting-racing.org].

      The course plotting part of the challenge is actually probably the easiest part. It's roughly analogous to you reading a map beforehand -- we're given a file detailing all the aspects of the course (course segments, how many lanes are in the segments, etc., and zones where free driving is allowed) plus a mission file giving the different waypoints we have to reach. This is, relatively speaking, easy.

      The difficult part is determining where the edges of the road and its lanes are (GPS is terrible at this; most of the time it's accurate to 10 or so feet unless you're using extraordinarily expensive differential units) which is mostly done using visual scanning. Of course, we also have to detect other vehicles or obstacles in the path (using LIDAR and vision) and also determine the correct "pose" of the vehicle. Then we have to take that information and use it to modify the path we've already decided to take. These problems as it turns out are far, far harder than just plotting courses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phleg (523632)

        And of course, a lot of the purpose of this challenge is exactly what you stated in your post: we have to detect and avoid other cars, use safe and proper driving etiquette for passing others, follow the rules of the road (i.e., four-way stops, etc.), and dynamically adapt our course to the conditions. Chiefly, this last requirement means noticing obstacles (construction, accidents, etc.) and rerouting, but this could also incorporate predicting traffic jams. For instance, if a heavily-traveled section of t

      • by Mike1024 (184871)
        Of course, we also have to detect other vehicles or obstacles in the path (using LIDAR and vision) and also determine the correct "pose" of the vehicle.

        Looking at the pictures on your homepage you're using something like SICK scanning LIDAR units, right?

        I'm curious - what sort of data rate do you get out of those things?

        Thanks!
        • by Phleg (523632)

          We are. I haven't worked on that part of the car, but from what I've heard the SICKs combined saturate a 1GB ethernet link. One of the big challenges we're going to have to overcome for the car is data storage. For testing purposes, we'd like to record the output from all the sensors for individual runs. That way software can be tested offline. But with those consuming 1Gbps, the video cameras consuming about 750Mbps each, and other sensors, even storing the data becomes a huge task. We're probably looking

          • by Mike1024 (184871)
            I haven't worked on that part of the car, but from what I've heard the SICKs combined saturate a 1GB ethernet link.

            Impressive! I know most of the SICKs I've encountered (admittedly not very many) have been the yellow/safety ones, and have only had serial I/O - which made me suspect the data rate was pretty low. Any idea what models you're using, or is it just that fast because you've got lots of them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      I have to travel generally North East through many states.

      Hopefully less of the former and more of the latter, unless you're trying to travel through Canada to get there. NYC is only 2 degrees (~149mi) north of Sacramento. For comparison purposes, LA is 4 degrees (~312mi) south of Sac.

      So what you (and just about everyone else, myself included) REALLY need is a map and/or some signs, rather than some supposed "inherent sense of direction" that you seem to believe we possess. What you believe you know (tra
      • by StikyPad (445176)
        *Radar is the acronym for Radio Decetion and Ranging. I was thinking of the two attributes a nav radar system typically measures, which are range and direction.
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by djupedal (584558)
        > Radar (which is an acronym of Range and Finder, by the way)

        Not. Sorry...

        The word/acronym Radar means: RADio detecting And Ranging.
    • This is why I preferred Stanley over Red team in the last race. The Red team sat down with high-res imagery and data, whereas the Stanley team just plotted in the GPS track. The Red team were even down to plotting their speed in meters/second around individual twists and turns. Stanley on the other hand had been taught to distinguish between safe road and unsafe road, and drive appropriately.
      The BBC made a great show about it [bbc.co.uk] which is well worth watching. Even if only for the onboard footage of Stanley cat
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You have to realize that the GPS information is relatively sparse - it tells you where the roads are, and roughly what shape they are, but not where the actual lane boundaries are. Autonomous lane following for 60 miles is itself a challenge; add in intersections and traffic and the problem becomes very difficult.
      • by Phleg (523632)
        Autonomous lane following by itself isn't actually even all that impressive. If I recall, there was a German who in the 80s set up a car to drive itself along the highway, with only minimal human intervention. It's interacting with other cars and navigating complex (i.e., non-highway) lanes.
    • Are you asking about the right thing? First, you'd be surprised how much foreknowledge you probably have about driving from Sacramento to Manhattan. I've never done the drive, but I'm pretty sure if I hop onto a big, even-numbered interstate, like 80 or 90, I'll get most of the way there. And, if I find myself somewhere in the middle, I might not know the roads, but I'll have a decent sense of where each city lies. So, maybe it's "cheating" to give the robot a gps and a street map of everything, but the di
    • but, while as a software engineer and electromechanical hobbyist I fully appreciate all the challenges involved with these robotic drivers, I'm just not impressed [...] I will be impressed when driving automation systems can start with a general idea of where their source and destination locations are and can read the signs to figure out how to get there.

      So, you will be impressed by next year's challlenge winners, then?

      Personally I'll be impressed when I see production cars with a built-in survival instincts (sensors reacting to dangerous situations, preventing collisions despite human error, incompetance, drunkeness, etc.).

    • by timeOday (582209)

      I'm just not impressed by systems that have courses plotted into them and use GPS and high resolution maps and intimate fore-knowledge of the landscape, etc.

      The fact that no cars finished the first year, and only three the second, prove that the challenge difficulty was perfect - difficult but achievable by taking the few next technological steps. Whether it impresses you is more a measure of your preconceptions of the field than of the field itself. If you're so sure it's easy, I encourage you to step

    • by qazwart (261667)
      The winner of the last challenge, Team Stanley, actually did drive without a lot of foreknowledge. Team Stanley relied upon Stanley reading the road with various sensors and figuring out the best route for itself. Stanley did have a map of the course, but then even a person would need a map of the course to navigate it.

      Team Stanley's tactic differed from the way their main challenger, Red Team, handled the course. Red Team manually entered step-by-step driving instructions into both of its vehicles (Highlan
  • This cannot be allowed to happen! Tell those DARPA spooks to take their ROTM challenge elsewhere! Or at least just flat out say it'll take place in LA and if mad robots happen to knock down every building in town, so much the better. I for one will avoid any city on that date.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:45PM (#17187292) Homepage Journal
    DARPA presumably lost its granting authority with the passage of a congressional act--the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007--which gave money-granting power to another government agency, Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. So at the time, instead of awarding $2 million for first prize, $500,000 for second and $250,000 for third, DARPA said it would simply give out trophies to the three finalists.

    But after much complaint from contestants, Kenneth Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, approved the prize money.

    Policy that is so prone to failure is about as ridiculous as a system that cuts off funding to an entire branch of the military if someone tweaks some minor policy somewhere.

    These prize awards aren't just some minor toy program -- they are the future of technology development which means defense preparedness. Maybe there are some radical Muslim cleric moles posing as policy makers. Oh well... Islam isn't as bad as some theocracies.

    • by eighty4 (987543)
      slashdot should have a mod -1 racist. Seriously, where the fuck did the Muslims come from? There could be any number of reasons, valid or not, why a group of people would oppose funding this project, both from an international and a domestic standpoint. "Blame it on the Muslims"? jeez...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ErikZ (55491) *
        Racism?

        Well then, we should be easily able to cure Muslims by finding the gene that makes them turn to Islam. A little genetic engineering and *bam*! No more Muslim gene.

        Please look up the word "Racism" before you embarrass yourself any further.
        • by fatduck (961824) *
          Yea, because we all know 'race' is genetic. [eurekalert.org] Please look up the word "Race" before you embarass yourself any further.
          • by ErikZ (55491) *
            If, by the article you linked, race doesn't exist, then there can't be any racism. So your rebuttal is pointless.

            I'm old fashioned. If I want to know the meaning of a word, I use a dictionary.

            3. Anthropology.
            a. any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics: no longer in technical use.
            b. an arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, esp. formerly, based
  • Man I hope they televise this event, I dunno how many entries they will allow but it would be a real life version of Carmageddon (the smashing into stuff part, hopefully not the blood and guts) I would pay for PPV =) (if I had cable or dish)
    • by greylion3 (555507)
      Ok, how would that be fun without the blood and guts?

      (Yes, I've played Carmageddon far too many times).
  • Does the robot vehicle hit and run or stay?
    Does it recognize a human laying in the road?
  • Big difference (Score:2, Informative)

    by IorDMUX (870522)
    The race will see as many as 90 teams 'drive' an unmanned robotic road vehicle

    I know... I know... they did put 'drive' in semi-quotes, but it's still misleading to a reader who is unfamiliar with the Challenge.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: The robots will be driving themselves.

    This type of design is worlds different from a system to be 'driven' using a joystick or by some guy monitoring the robot's progress. Amazing leaps and bounds in artificial intelligence, software image recogniti
    • by mikiN (75494)
      I can see the nightmare coming. ...BSOD...module BRAKE.SYS...KerBLAM!
      I sure hope these bots have some system aboard that allows a real human driver to assume control and pull over the moment something is about to go wrong.
      • IIRC in the first challange, all of the robots had a "remote kill" switch, and a chase vehicle, I'm assuming that something similar will be in place for this one
  • If I were a contestant, I would make sure my vehicle stays out of the way of Oshkosh Truck's entry! http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/Teams/Track_A_ Teams/TeamOshkoshTruck.asp [darpa.mil]
  • I could see them doing unmanned vehicles in the desert, but city traffic? I don't think we are ready to travel on unused city streets yet let alone with other cars. Wherever they're going to hold this, I will be avoiding. I have enough tension following a car with that "student driver" placard on the roof to be dealing with a blender driving in the lane to my left.

    I realize part of this challenge is to force the evolution of the technology and give it a push, but there are limits, and I think this next o
    • by jtorkbob (885054)
      Actually, I saw a documentary - on OPB I think - which showed that one of the teams had been letting their car drive them to work. That 'blender' could be out there right now...
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Wherever they're going to hold this, I will be avoiding.

      Personally, I was going avoid Iraq and Afghanistan too, but not because of robot drivers.
  • ..until it can demonstrate the ability to shave and/or apply mascara at speed, cut off other drivers, and give the finger to old men going 48 mph in the passing lane. There's a good reason they're not holding this on the East coast.
  • The government research group didn't unveil the 2005 Grand Challenge location in the Mojave Desert until weeks before that race, in order to avoid giving any team an advantage

    .

    Openness about everything is actually much better for avoiding any advantage to any team! Keeping it secret just opens up the possibility that one team will get an advantage through a backdoor channel. Openness = fairness.

    Of course if you win this race you will spend the rest of your life doing things in secret in our secret underground laboratories.

  • but how will Robots negotiate Women Drivers???
  • That is, lanes that are designed to be negotiated by robot-cars. In the UK we have cats-eyes already that miark lanes for normal drivers to follow. I dont see it being much of a stretch to have digital markers, that not only show "visually" to the onboard computer where they're supposed to be "now" but can also, like road signs to humans, give clues that "in 100m there is a Stop sign" for example, maybe all markers could be placed 100m before they actually happen as a standard. so to summarise, instead of t
  • I'm even more interested in the just announced DARPA project entitled "DARPA 2006 Grand Theft Auto".

    The plan is to set up a course in downtown Detriot or Cleveland and challenge entrants in two categories: the total number of convenience store robberies and the average take per robbery.

    They have yet to decide if the automated cars can use weapons of force in this competition.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

Working...