wrote to mention that the Darpa Grand Challenge
is getting underway again. The qualifying rounds started yesterday. National media has picked up on the story, with pieces at the Washington Post
and Seattle Times
. From the Post: "The autonomous robotic vehicles began competing Wednesday in the first of a series of qualifying rounds at the California Speedway. Half will advance to the Oct. 8 starting line of the so-called Grand Challenge. The grueling, weeklong semifinals are designed to test the vehicles' ability to cover a roughly 2-mile stretch of the track without a human driver or remote control. Participants ranging from souped-up SUVs to military behemoths will be graded on how well they can self-drive on rough road, make sharp turns and avoid obstacles _ hay bales, trash cans, wrecked cars _ while relying on GPS navigation and sensors, radar, lasers and cameras that feed information to computers."