DARPA Sets Robotic Race Prizes

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced this afternoon that it has set prize levels for its next race, the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. The robotic race will award three prizes, of $2M, $1M, and $500,000, to the first three finishers in the challenge. The awards are a change from the agency's plan to only award trophies in the race, after funding for the prizes expired. According to DARPA, the new prizes were approved by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Kenneth J. Krieg. DARPA's Urban Challenge is focused this time on automonous ground vehicles who will simulate a military supply mission, in a mock urban area, and will cover sixty miles and have a time limit of six hours. The original DARPA Grand Challenge featured a $2M grand prize, which was awarded to a team from Stanford.