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The Great Robot Race

The DARPA Grand Challenge—a raucous race for robotic, driverless vehicles sponsored by the Pentagon, which awards a $2 million purse to the winning team. Armed with artificial intelligence, laser-guided vision, GPS navigation, and 3-D mapping systems, the contenders are some of the world’s most advanced robots. Yet even their formidable technology and mechanical prowess may not be enough to overcome the grueling 130-mile course through Nevada’s desert terrain. From concept to construction to the final competition, “The Great Robot Race” delivers the absorbing inside story of clever engineers and their unyielding drive to create a champion, capturing the only aerial footage that exists of the Grand Challenge.
It would seem that the essentials to road racing are clear—a fast car and talented driver, right? Wrong. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) turns this assumption on its head with its Grand Challenge, a contest solely for autonomous vehicles that go relatively slowly. Following its success with unmanned aircraft, DARPA is pushing for the same on-ground advantage to keep soldiers out of harm’s way. Private Jessica Lynch’s ambush in Iraq might well have been avoided if the U.S. Army could have had a robotic supply truck to carry out missions in dangerous zones.

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3 comments to The Great Robot Race

  • dfg

    remarkable the way these teams get money to pursue these challenges, seems like most of them spend more than the 2 million dollar prize they are competing for.

  • Lova Ravonimanantsoa

    This project is really strategical for the DOD and future combats.

  • Robots are become an emerging technology development in the world of technology. I love to read such technology advances for getting more research based contents. These are admirable contents for technology and computer science students who want to make their career in modern world.

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