The results are in for the 2007 DARPA Challenge, a race where robotic vehicles traverse a difficult real world course. Carnegie Mellon’s Tartan Racing took home the 2 million dollar prize for successfully completing this year’s Urban Challenge, a course consisting of urban and suburban roadways with obstacles that include variables such as other robots and human driven cars. Tartan Racing’s 2007 Chevy Tahoe "Boss" completed the 55 mile challenge in the least amount of time, and also met the requirement of remaining inside California driving laws. These vehicles do not operate by remote control or use any human intervention, but instead utilize sophisticated GPS, lasers, cameras and a heavy dose of computer software to manage their set of tasks.
DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is responsible for the development of new technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. With the hope of achieving a ground force that is one-third autonomous by 2015, Congress has sanctioned cash prizes by means of the DARPA Grand Challenge. One military application is aimed at keeping ground personnel safe by having unmanned convoys traversing supply routes. Though the challenge is open to the world, there is a stipulation that at least one member of each team be a United States citizen. More video of the winning vehicle can be watched here.
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