DARPA Race Won!

Post ImageMaybe the title should say “finished” instead of “won”, as DARPA’s race for robots has never before been completed. At least three robots have now completed the harsh race:

Stanford University’s Racing Team has accomplished a historic feat of robotics, finishing first in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 131.6-mile driverless car race that no artificially intelligent machine has ever conquered before.

“We had a great day,” said Sebastian Thrun, director of Stanford’s artificial intelligence lab and head of the racing team. Stanford’s “Stanley,” a modified Volkswagen Toureg with sensors and radar mountings, crossed the finish line within eight hours and 14 minutes, under the 10 hour requirement, according to times posted on the DARPA race Web site.

Director Dr. Tony Tether had this to say in the press release:

“Its incredible what Stanford and the two Carnegie-Mellon teams did today, and what the
other two teams can still achieve,” Tether said. “We had anticipated from the beginning that we might
have to carry the competition over to a second day.”

“When the Wright Brothers flew their little plane, they proved it could be done,” Tether
continued. “And just as aviation took off after those achievements, so will the very exciting and
promising robotics technologies displayed here today.”

Truer words have never been spoken. I remember how difficult it was to get our robot to move when we were building it, so I have great respect for all the entrants of this competition. I can’t imagine how much ingenuity it would take to build a robot that can travel that distance, all by itself.

Read: CNET News.com

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