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OS X-powered robot car stalls in race semi-finals

Jan Kabili

We were all excited when the OS X-powered, unmanned Volkswagen Touareg nicknamed Dora made it to the national semi-finals of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge race of robot vehicles. Sadly, Dora's run ended last week when it failed to finish the last of the qualifying events for the race finals. Dora's handlers, Team Banzai, blame the failure on their conservative driving strategy which apparently caused Dora to think she was hemmed in by a traffic cone. Team Banzai is probably kicking itself, knowing that it's careful strategy caused it to forfeit a hefty prize of $2 million, which went to a Stanford team.

Dora is a fully autonomous vehicle, meaning that it is not remote-controlled. Inside the car, G5s running OS X controlled the steering, brake, gas pedal, and gear shifts. The race of robot ground vehicles was sponsored by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense -- the same organization involved in pioneering the Internet, Stealth aircraft, and smart bombs.


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