“This year’s DARPA Grand Challenge robot race across the Mojave Desert had a much more successful ending than last year’s event: entrants actually completed the race,” Ed Oswald reports for BetaNews. “The contest was sponsored by the Department of Defense in an effort to investigate methods of further roboticizing the army and cut down on human casualties. Everyday consumer vehicles were outfitted with computers to completely automate the driving process.”
Oswald reports, “In 2004, none of the fifteen cars completed the race due to technical glitches, breakdowns or just plain bad luck, leaving the $1 million prize unclaimed. Thus, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) re-launched the contest and doubled the prize to $2 million. The result was five of 23 teams finishing the race with Stanford’s ‘Stanley,’ a robot controlled Volkswagen Toureg, finishing the 131.6 mile course in six hours, 53 minutes and 58 seconds. The car’s average speed was 19.1 mph.”
In July, we reported that Team Banzai was one of only 40 teams from around the country to advance by invitation to the national semi-finals of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Team Banzai’s “Dora,” also a Volkswagen Touareg, was the world’s first fully-autonomous (no human driver and no remote control) vehicle driven by Apple Computer’s Mac OS X.
“Team Banzai went 1 for 4 during the regular rounds to qualify for the special fifth round on the last day. We had a near perfect run in the morning and just needed to finish the afternoon run to qualify for the Finals. Unfortunately, our over-conservative driving strategy caused Dora to think she was boxed in by a single traffic cone, thus ending her run for $2 million,” Team Banzai reports.
Full article here.
More info on Team Banzai’s site here.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Vehicle drives itself (no human driver and no remote control) thanks to Apple’s Mac OS X – July 20, 2005