DARPA, how we love thee, let us count the ways. Your first Grand Challenge brought us giggles and guffaws as those first-gen automonous bots failed to even complete the course. Grand Challenge 2005 returned to the desert with oohs and ahhs with four vehicles actually completing the rugged, 132-mile unmanned course in less than 10-hours. Now, DARPA presents the third and best event yet, the Urban Challenge! This time around, DARPA will award prizes to the top three ($2M, $500k, and $250k respectively) autonomous ground vehicles that safely complete a 60-mile urban course on a simulated military supply mission (read: not likely to be blowing things up) in under 6-hours. The main event is schedule for November 3, 2007 with several qualifying events to be held in the run-up. And yeah, you can expect a full-on grudge-match between 2005's winning Stanford team and runners-up Carnegie Mellon (owners of the Crusher) who both announced participation in what was hopefully a sweaty, WWF-like expletive-ridden shout-off with folding chairs a-flyin'. [Warning: PDF link]
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