back to article Carnegie Mellon wins the robotic Urban Challenge

Carnegie Mellon University has redeemed itself by winning the $2m first place prize in the DARPA Urban Challenge. Stanford University took second and $1m, while Virginia Tech took $500k for third. Six vehicles of the 11 vehicles finished the sixty-mile course with Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Virginia Tech all closing within …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward


    I'm surprised the NRA missed a historic moment last Sunday when one of these robotic monsters attempted to take out a fleshy by T-boning his car at a junction.

    I've been gleaning intelligence via

    Another disturbing development happened in a car park in this country, when a herd of vehicles conspired to deny access to their human keepers for more than a week. It was discovered that the ringleader was a small hatchback which screeched its call to arms over the keyfob radio band via a 'faulty' receiver.

    In combination, these events suggest to me that the machines will attempt to seize our oil supplies early in the final battle. For heavens' sake I implore all parents to send their children to school through the tunnel system from now on.

  2. Tom

    Need to navigate a REAL town.

    How about San Francisco (lots of hills), or London (do you have the "knowledge"). Hopefully they won't ding the vehicles the congestion tax. It will be interesting to have an "automatic" taxi. Then again does it have voice recognition for Piccadilly Circus please"?

  3. peter


    The contest seemd to be based on a Military planner studying a map 48 hours before an operation and then building up a set of data with GPS coords for stop signs, turnings, all the waypoints possible and clear goals. Then loading this data onto the bots upon which they would move out. Not a car driving around managing to work out a path between two points.

    The level of data supplementing the GPS data (commercialy available supplemental GPS accuracy transmitters were allowed to be deployed) with video recognition and Laser scanning was not shown at all. Approaching a GPS marker pointing out a stop sign/line they did seem to slow down and start looking around more for clues. Several of the missions were to maintain a max-min mph speed for a set route.

    The overtaking was very impressive and the 4 way stops as well. The parking space also. The fact that each vehicle became DARPA property for the duration of the test after waypoints were loaded from a USB drive, shows how well each one worked outside human control.

    Some of the ability is probably overlooked in favour of the anthropomorphism aspect of how cute robotic cars can appear as they carefully roll round a corner only to stop and think in a delightful way. Or the great overtake and crash that occured just like humans. Watching from the continual viewpoint of a 6 hour LA style helicopter chase cam made it all the more enjoyable.

    Not quite robotic drivers but more robotic cars as the article says.

  4. Feargal Reilly
    Black Helicopters

    They are going to do what?

    "We are going to build a whole new student force for the next thirty years to come."

    So now that they've kickstarted robotic cars, DARPA are going to start on robotic students? What will he emperor think?

  5. Keith Turner
    Black Helicopters

    The current robot cars are rubbish

    Since the introduction of Twat Nav we are seeing more taxis with little screens in them. The drivers have no idea where they are going and just enter the destination - happy to know that their customers will be delivered quickly and safely.

    Trouble is that they rely on the Twat Nav and end up in all sorts of odd places piloted by a clueless driver.

    The black cabs without little screens but a large interactive local mapping database are still superior as the cabbie has done the knowledge and can leave the cab to auto-pilot while entertaining the fare with anecdotes about cameras, immigrants and how Jeremy Clarkson is just misunderstood.

    No-one had yet appeared to mention another use for robotcabs -- call a cab and get it to deliver a parcel to a destination. Both the parcel and cab can use the same GPS info and the parcel does a big atishoo* at exactly the right place.

    *see Robert Rankin's 'Snuff Fiction'

  6. Curtis W. Rendon

    @The current robot cars are rubbish

    He who can does, and he who can't, criticizes.

  7. John Browne

    @Keith and Curtis

    Fair comment from Curtis, but Keith does have something of a point.

    Fact is, the first generation of just about everything is rubbish.

    Consider the first conventional cars, or steam locomotives before Stephenson got most (not all) of the bugs out. Or the Baird television system. Or even the humble plough; pulled by people, it meant a couple of millenia of backbreaking work until a decent ox, then horse, harness was added.

    We seem to improve things rather more quickly these days, and viable autonomous vehicles will probably be with us quite soon, at least for the military.

    If that bothers you, just remember what Arnie did to the robot cabbie in 'Total Recall' 8-)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like