Grand Challenge Entrants Don't Look That Promising

from the long-way-to-go dept

While everyone has been buzzing about the upcoming DARPA Grand Challenge that takes place this weekend, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that any team will pass the challenge, and have their entirely autonomous vehicle travel the full 200 or so mile course without any problems. They’ve started running trials on short obstacle courses, and none of the teams completed it. In fact, the vast majority barely made it past the starting line. If they can’t get past the starting line, you have to imagine that traveling 200 miles in under 10 hours is not a very likely option. The article lists Carnegie Mellon’s Red Team as the most feared entrant (even though it’s had some difficulty after they flipped their Hummer-based entrant last week). However, I still think the most impressive one is the Ghost Rider Robot, which is (believe it or not) a motorcycle. While incredibly cool, from the videos on the site, it doesn’t look very promising. It seems to be able to stay upright for a few yards (pretty cool by itself), but it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to advance that technology so that it can handle 200 miles in the period of a month. Already, the article points out that five teams have pulled out of the race. I’m sure some of the rejected candidates are pissed off that there isn’t a system to allow alternates to jump onto the starting line. Update: Well, it looks like the CMU team got things fixed up without a hitch, as they became the first team to complete the trial course. Looks like that early favorite tag is going to stick.

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