Feeds

DARPA's Grand Challenge proves to be too grand

RoboFlop

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The $1 million Grand Challenge ended with a dull thud on Saturday as not one robot vehicle came close to completing the 142 mile course in the Mojave Desert.

Seven miles was the best any team could muster with both the Red Team out of Carnegie Mellon University and SciAutonics II out of Thousand Oaks, California reaching that distance. Most of the 15 teams in the field failed to go more than a few hundred yards. All in all, it was a pretty humbling display for unmanned robot vehicle technology.

Some teams ran into obstacles. Others had equipment such as brakes or navigation systems break down. And two qualifying teams declined to even compete. In total, only seven vehicles managed to travel at least one mile.

DARPA had been looking for a team to traverse the 142 mile course in under ten hours to pick up the $1 million prize.

It's hard to say that the millions upon millions of dollars put into the Grand Challenge went to waste. The government will have first pick of the technology it considers promising, and the event brought a lot of attention to the robotics field. Still, the reality of the event did not come close to meeting the hype surrounding it.

As far back as October of last year, several teams boasted that their vehicles had passed early tests. The Red Team even posted videos of its dazzling custom Hummer besting desert terrain.

In addition, DARPA did everything it could to help out the contestants. The 142 mile course was much shorter than original proposals stretching to 250 miles. The vehicles were also sent off in a time-trial format instead of all taking off at the same time as first planned.

In the end, however, the results were at the low end of expectations. Few thought any vehicle would actually complete the race, but many observers predicted that the Red Team and others would come close.

DARPA plans to hold the event again in 18 to 24 months, dangling the $1 million prize to winners one more time.

In the meantime, a second $1 million challenge independent of government watch has been set up for September.

The humbling Grand Challenge results are available here.

Related stories

Final robot grunts picked for $1million DARPA race
Robot grunts tumble in race for $1m prize
$1 million Grand Challenge map leaked on Web
DARPA quells robot road rage
DARPA chisels little guy out of $1 million race
DARPA's indecision threatens integrity of $1 million race

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff
Passenger had Something To Declare, instead fiddled while plane burned
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.