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Robotics The Military Technology

Eleven Finalists in Pentagon's Robotic Rally 64

An anonymous reader writes "A mere 11 driverless vehicles — not the 20 originally planned — will compete in this weekend's $3.5 million all-robot street rally, hosted by the Pentagon. After a series of crashes, dangerous turns, and aimless wanderings off of the course, the rest of the robo-cars in the "Urban Challenge" were deemed unsafe to compete."
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Eleven Finalists in Pentagon's Robotic Rally

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  • by ciaohound ( 118419 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @08:54AM (#21210313)
    No, what's out of whack about that is that such behavior, at least the menacing parts, are essential for survival for driving in Iraq. A friend of mine told me how his son, who serves in the army, was given a week of "reprogramming" upon returning to the States before being allowed to drive here. You know, for things like NOT driving ninety miles an hour, OBSERVING stop signs, YIELDING the right of way, RESPECTING pedestrians, etc, etc, etc.
  • by Skrynesaver ( 994435 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @10:21AM (#21211331) Homepage
    Curiously enough insurance statistics tend to indicate that women have the same number of accidents as men, however because the haven't got their egos wrapped around their driving ability they tend not to be doing 30 over the applicable limit at the time and so cause less damage
  • Quit whining. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @11:48AM (#21212767) Homepage

    As the head of a team that lost in 2005, I don't think so. The 2005 competition was run fairly. The Marine colonel who ran the thing was tough, but fair. The only extra consideration I saw given to a team was that CMU got to have a Discovery Channel camera crew in the starting gate area, which, under the rules, was limited to two people per team.

    In the Urban Challenge, if you hit a stationary object, you weren't ready to compete at that level. Back in 2004, 'bots were hitting stationary obstacles all over the place. Some went off road and rolled over. Oshkosh Truck/OSU not only hit a parked SUV, it pushed it for a while until someone hit the remote emergency stop. (That's why Oshkosh Truck dumped OSU, pulled the project in-house, and finished in 2005, using their huge truck.) CMU hit a fence placed by DARPA just before the event. CMU's vehicle, in 2004, wasn't really autonomous, just preprogrammed. They had a trailer full of people manually planning the route in the two hours before the event, using data obtained via overflights of the area with LIDAR-equipped aircraft. The 2004 Grand Challenge was embarrassing for everyone involved, including DARPA. The press reports made it look like a joke.

    In 2005, everybody who made it to Fontana had something better than anybody had in 2004. There were very few collisions. It was striking, being at the raceway in Fontana, and seeing 43 large, autonomous vehicles, all of which basically worked. There'd been enormous progress in a year and a half. Mobile robotics wasn't a joke any more. We were out of the Comedy Channel/Robot Wars era, and into the ESPN/NASCAR era. With NASCAR-sized budgets for some teams, but not all. Some small teams were successful. Although "small", in this game, means mid six figures to low seven figures.

    This year, DARPA insists you not hit anything. Urban Challenge vehicles have to drive in traffic. There are cars with human drivers on the course. Complaining about being eliminated after a collision with a stationary barrier is just whining.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)