It's safe to say that we're fascinated with DARPA and the numerous ways we've seen robotic vehicles compete, but the Pike's Peak robot hill climb definitely steps it up -- way up. On September 23rd the first annual autonomous robot race to the top of Pike's Peak will get in gear, but the vehicles will be running on auto-pilot. The bulk of the ten competitors already signed up for this shindig aren't new to the robotic scene, but Pike's Peak is quite a different beast than past Grand Challenge locales. Situated in Colorado, the mountain is 14,700 feet high with a 12.4 mile gravel road rising 4,710 feet. Team Axion, no stranger to the sport, led the first successful autonomous vehicle climb to Pike's Peak last week as their Grand Cherokee made the climb in just over 47 minutes. Even unmanned vehicles on a mountain can't avoid traffic jams, however, and Axion Racing said they planned to achieve a sub-30 minute time if they can avoid the slower racers that were around them holding up the show. Them's fightin' words there.

[Via Gizmag]

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The DARPA Pike's Peak Robot Hill Climb