Feeds

DARPA's Grand Challenge proves to be too grand

RoboFlop

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.