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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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