Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Driverless Cars To Storm City Streets!

Just months after awarding $2 million for a sport utility vehicle that drove itself over more than 100 miles of open road, the Pentagon on Monday unveiled a bigger, richer challenge for self-driving vehicles that can negotiate city traffic.

Veterans of the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency's earlier "Grand Challenges" said the technologies developed for the next contest will clearly benefit the U.S. military, which has set the goal of automating a third of its ground vehicles by 2015. But they said the innovations could have an even bigger impact on driving in America.

"It might fundamentally alter the way we use our highways and save trillions of dollars," said Sebastian Thrun, the Stanford University computer-science professor whose team won the Grand Challenge race last October.

This time around, autonomous vehicles would run a simulated military supply mission in a mock urban area. To succeed, the vehicles would have to complete a 60-mile course safely in less than six hours, obeying traffic laws and avoiding obstacles while they merge with moving traffic, negotiate intersections and even pull into and back out of parking spaces.

"Grand Challenge 2005 proved that autonomous ground vehicles can travel significant distances and reach their destination, just as you or I would drive from once city to the next," DARPA Director Tony Tether said in Monday's announcement (PDF file). "After the success of this event, we believe the robotics community is ready to tackle vehicle operation inside city limits."


Anonymous ian said...

They better hope that none of those cars get struck by lightning!

Cuz you know... killbots and all...

3:14 PM  
Blogger Dennis Dread said...

Maximum Overdrive!!!!

3:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home