Sunday, June 15, 2003

DARPA Grand Challenge

In the same way that the X Prize is inspiring lots of private research and development in sub-orbital space flight, DARPA is trying to inspire private development of autonomous robots with the Grand Challenge. In DARPA's words:

Entrants will have to run a course from Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV -- according to this mapquest route it's 270 miles by car and should take 4 and a half hours. The DARPA route will be a bit more challenging, running along "surfaced and un-surfaced roads, trails, and off-road areas. Man-made and natural obstacles—both above and below the surface of the average terrain—are likely. Examples of obstacles include ditches, open water, rocks, underpasses, construction, and other vehicles. All obstructions on the route can be either accommodated or avoided by a commercial 4X4 pick-up truck." DARPA thinks that a vehicle should be able to do it in 10 hours or less (see Rules).

The prize to the winner is $1 million. The date for the event is March 13, 2004.

Team Overbot is one of the teams vying for the prize, and they are looking for volunteers:

Team Overbot is pretty secretive, but provides this glimpse... Click the image for more info.

Paul Gunther and team are also building several vehicles for the Grand Challenge and sent this link to a very nice set of photos.

Click for an archive of photos from Paul Gunther and team.

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