Saturday, October 08, 2005

DARPA Grand Challenge

It looks as if the MDV sponsored Stanford Racing Team will win the DARPA Gran Challenge -- a desert race sponsored by the Defense Department to help develop autonomous vehicles. The Stanford vehicle finished the 132 mile course in 7 1/2 hours. Here is some terrific footage of the unmanned vehicles rolling by...

No winner has been declared yet because there are still two vehicles on the course. Start times were staggered, so there is a chance that one of these vehicles will still complete the race in a shorter time...

UPDATE: Stanford declared the winner, with a race time of 6 hours, 53 minutes. Dan posted a comment complaining that the video isn't "terrific" -- hey folks, remember these are driverless cars!

1 comment:

dan said...

"Terrific footage"? Hmmm. It's about as exciting as watching paint dry.

On the other hand, the rather humdrum sight of these vehicles driving slowly and unsteadily down the highway masks the stunning reality that last year, not a single one of these contraptions made it more than 7 miles or so into the course. This year, four finished. That's amazing progress in such a short time.

On the other hand, I have to say it makes me a bit sad that the reason the government is willing to spend money on encouraging these efforts is for military purposes. I'm all for R&D for R&D's sake, but given the utter myopia (if not outright stupidity) in how we're using our already supreme advantage in military technology, this strikes me as a somewhat fruitless demonstration of our inventiveness.