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Living with robots: The $3.5m DARPA Urban Challenge

The race is on

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12:25 Boo-yah! It had to happen. Robots have collided. MIT and Cornell have crashed. You can't count on those high-priced East Coast schools.

The vehicles rubbed front bumpers before the safety drivers behind them could stop them with their remote shutoff devices. Now they're parked, and the teams are going over the systems to see if they can go back into the field. If the front sensors have been damaged, they'll struggle to return.

Check that. Just after I finished the last sentence, Cornell set out again. MIT is still running checks.

In all honesty, these eventful moments are welcomed by the observers. This thing is all about waiting and watching cars go around and around the course.

Stunt driver waiting and waiting

Stunt Man Waiting

And, just after I finished the last sentence, MIT started up again as well.

2:45 p.m. Well after a whole lot of very little, three vehicles made it to the finish line. Stanford once again beat out Carnegie Mellon, and Virginia Tech came next.

Unlike the previous races, however, this was not just a contest based on speed. So, we won't know the real winner until DARPA has used its secret formula that combines speed points with deductions for traffic penalties. The organization will probably announce the finalist tomorrow.

Meanwhile, three vehicles continue on the course.

Sunday 9:03 a.m. Sorry for the delay. I lost all access to a network connection. Ultimately six teams finished the race with Cornell, MIT and a team from University of Pennsylvania coming in later.

The winner will be announced shortly.®

Bootnote

You'll be able to watch the event live here.

Register editor Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

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