Print 14 comment(s) - last by Serlant.. on Nov 6 at 10:00 AM

All but 11 teams have been eliminated for the final DARPA Urban Challenge event

The field of cars wanting to compete in the final event of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge has been narrowed from 35 teams to just 11 entrants on the eve of the challenge.

DARPA eliminated 24 teams who failed the preliminaries and/or were deemed unsafe to be on the road tomorrow.

"The teams that competed in the [National Qualification Event] were subjected to a series of rigorous tests to determine whether they were equipped to compete in the Urban Challenge final event," said Dr. Tony Tether, DARPA director.  "The NQE tested the vehicles capability to merge into traffic, navigate four-way intersections, respond to blocked roads, pass on-coming cars on narrow roads and keeping up with traffic on two- and four-lane roads. In fact, the only major difference between the NQE and the final event is that other robotic vehicles will be part of the traffic in the final event."

The following teams will battle starting at 8:00 a.m. PST tomorrow:  Team AnnieWay, CarOLO, Team Cornell, Honeywell/IVS Team, MIT, Team Oshkosh Truck, Stanford Racing Team, Tartan Racing, The Ben Franklin Racing Team, Team UCF, and VictorTango.

Stanford University, which won in 2005, is a race favorite with "Junior," a converted 2006 Volkswagen Passat vehicle - Stanford modified the brakes, steering and throttle - to ensure they can be controlled via computer.

The competitors left standing will have up to six hours to complete the 60-mile course, while completing a number of different complicated tasks.  The first place team will receive $2 million, second place team $1 million, and $500,000 for a third place finish in the event.

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By ryan023 on 11/3/2007 8:28:08 AM , Rating: 3
this is so cool guys -
i am looking forward 4 the day when we don't need to drive they (the cars) just drive us.

RE: nice
By bldckstark on 11/3/2007 9:00:57 AM , Rating: 3
If all vehicles were autonomous, it would be (relatively) easy to create a car that drives itself. The problem is currently they have to share the road with human drivers, and they make too many mistakes.

Compare this to playing a PC game against AI, versus playing against humans online. The game gets 10 times harder online because of the human element.

RE: nice
By Alexstarfire on 11/3/2007 2:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
Lag doesn't help though. I still agree though. I can't say ALL humans are bad drivers, but yea. Humans as a whole make a lot of mistakes. But it's also one of those things where if we are all on automated cars that we'd expect the number of accidents to drop to near zero. I mean, the only reasons left for an accident to occur is if something in the car fails. Also, we wouldn't need car insurance anymore since our accident rate should be zero. We also wouldn't need nearly as many lawyers for traffic related accidents, because even someone did crash it'd be no ones fault. The computer is driving and the computer is perfect, therefore it would truly be an accident.

RE: nice
By omnicronx on 11/3/2007 4:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
You guys have obviously never seen Minority Report

RE: nice
By 91TTZ on 11/3/2007 12:13:04 PM , Rating: 3
i am looking forward 4 the day when we don't need to drive they (the cars) just drive us... right off the road due to a software glitch.


RE: nice
By Oobu on 11/3/2007 8:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that's what you'll say until you get a BSOD flashing across your windshield and you crash into a telephone pole.

By Serlant on 11/3/2007 7:17:16 AM , Rating: 3
The field of cars wanting tom compete in the

I'm not being a spelling/grammer nazi or anything, its kind of hard to miss on the first line.

RE: Correction.
By Michael Hoffman on 11/3/2007 7:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Serland, thanks for pointing that out!

RE: Correction.
By Serlant on 11/6/2007 10:00:44 AM , Rating: 2
Serlan T , ;) and its no problem!

Cool stuff
By Martimus on 11/3/2007 11:12:58 AM , Rating: 2
I did something similar for my senior design project at school, although we couldn't afford scanning lasers, so we used ultrasonic sensors.

RE: Cool stuff
By Michael Hoffman on 11/3/2007 7:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Martimus, feel free to shoot me an e-mail (michael @ if you want to discuss what you worked on a bit further.



RE: Cool stuff
By Martimus on 11/5/2007 2:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
It has been over 5 years since I worked on it, but I can discuss it with you. What in particular did you want to know? I'll send you an e-mail when I get home.

By MKconsider on 11/4/2007 4:21:58 PM , Rating: 1
The thing to remember with this sort of thing is that you first off are not using a standard piece of software, like Windows.

You're using proprietary things. And if done right you have pairs of everything, running separately from one another. In other words, if your GUI intended for you to interact with does for some reason mess up, or glitch, your backup version is still running, while the other reboots and gets itself back on track. Meanwhile, the car continues operating as expected unaffected by this glitch.

Also, IMO, for any tech like this to be done properly you need to make software that is not capable of encountering a glitch like that.

This is also the purpose for rigorous testing. You hit every possible error that can encounter and produce measures that compensate for the potential glitches, if any. Besides, worst case scenario the thing can be designed to pull over.

Automated vehicles are inevitable. And if we had a more progressive government in this country (U.S.) then such a thing would be implemented quickly, once it's to a viable point.

RE: Remember
By noirsoft on 11/4/2007 11:33:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'll take a car running Windows over one running Linux (have to recompile every time you fill up the tank at a new gas station) or MacOS (turn on your blinkers and the car starts bouncing to notify you that the blinker's on)

All joking aside, a true commercial product would run on a real-time OS, which none of the "commercial" OSes are, though real-time variants do exist for both Windows and Unixes. It's an entirely different game, and comparisons to desktop OSes is pointless.

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