Thursday, October 6, 2005
Finalists Selected for $2M Robotic Race
Twenty three finalists have been selected for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge race, scheduled for this Saturday in the Mojave desert. The race, a challenge designed to spur research and development in the area of autonomous vehicles, will pit the robotic vehicles against a rugged desert course that the vehicles must navigate unaided by humans. A number of Los Angeles-area teams made the qualifying cut, including Westlake Village-based Axion Racing; Pasadena-based Team CalTech; Los Angeles-based The Golem Group/UCLA; and Thousand Oaks-based SciAutonics/Auburn Engineering. The robotic vehicles must traverse the course in less than ten hours; last year, none of the vehicles made it through the course, and most failed miserably in the first few miles. The finalists were whittled down from forty-three semifinalists in an event at the California Speedway in Fontana over the last week.