Robot Cars Hit Sim City

robot cars hit sim city

Geek alert! Tomorrow (Saturday November 3) at 7:30 am PST, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will be webcasting their 2007 "Grand Challenge." This year, the 11 robotic cars leave the old Mojave Desert course for 60-miles of simulated streets– complete with 50 human-driven vehicles– to compete for AI bragging rights and a $2m top prize. While the resulting crashes won't be NASCAR-grade, and anyone who's seen Lexus' self-parking LS do its thing won't find the parking portion of the challenge particularly entertaining, and not even an America's Cup race lasts six hours, it's yet another landmark in the move towards automated automobiles. As former Car & Driver editor and TTAC contributor Stephan Wilkinson pointed-out on these e-pages many moons ago, the effort to remove driver control from the safety equation is beginning to assume the mantle of inevitability. Of course, that's not the driving force behind the DARPA deal. Their challenge is specifically designed to simulate military missions. Surveying the carnage caused by Improvised Explosive Devices on military transport in Iraq, Congress has decreed that a third of military ground vehicles must be unmanned by 2015. That said, there is a civilian spin: contestants must "meet the same standards required to pass the California DMV road test." It's a shame they didn't set the bar higher.

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  • Samir Syed Samir Syed on Nov 02, 2007

    I don't think that's true guyincognito. Engineers are well aware that not everything can be planned for. That's why pilots still have to go through years of flight school and why planes still have manual modes, long after the advent of autopilot.

  • Orian Orian on Nov 02, 2007

    If California's DMV road test is like Ohio's we're all screwed if that's the standards these things have to adhere too. Anyone can pass it.

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Nov 02, 2007

    guyincognito: as long as America never loses its Hot-Rodding spirit, there will always be an off switch. You'll just buy it from the aftermarket and hack it in yourself.

  • Johnster Johnster on Nov 03, 2007

    Welcome to the future! Sit back! Relax! Nothing can go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong go wrong

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