We totally heart DARPA (the folks who brought you the internet!), given all the sweet research that it funds. As such, our hearts sunk when Congress dropped the prize for DARPA'S 2007 Grand Challenge to nil back in October. But the Grand Challenge has just gotten a little sweeter, since Congress has since reinstated the prize money to $3.5 million, split three ways, (including amongst the Team B competitors): the winning team will get $2 million, the second place $1 million, and third place a cool half million clams, or bones, or whatever you call them. As you probably know, the 2007 Grand Challenge will be a 60-mile urban course, which means that the cars will have to navigate themselves through an unnamed city (or section of a city) somewhere in the Western US. Of course, this prize money isn't going to do much for offsetting the cost of such a large project, but it'll surely buy a lot of champagne at the victory party. [Warning: PDF link]

[Via Slashdot and CNET]

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DARPA reinstates Grand Challenge prize money, millions at stake