>From Dave Farber's IP list:
Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2004 14:01:15 -0800
From: Dewayne Hendricks <email@example.com>
Robot race ends without a winner
$1 million prize goes unclaimed
BARSTOW, California (AP) -- A $1 million race across the Mojave Desert by
driverless robots ended Saturday after all 15 entries either broke down or
withdrew, a race official said.
Two of the entries covered about seven miles of the roughly 150-mile course
while eight failed to make it to the one-mile mark. Others crashed seconds
The race ended just before 11 a.m. after the final four competitors were
disabled, said Col. Jose Negron, race program manager.
Competitors suffered a variety of problems that included stuck brakes,
broken axles, rollovers and malfunctioning satellite navigation equipment.
One six-wheeled robot built by a Louisiana team was disqualified after it
became entangled in barbed wire.
"It's a tough challenge -- it's a grand challenge -- you can always bet
that it's not doable. But if you don't push the limits, you can't learn,"
said Ensco Inc. engineer Venkatesh Vasudevan, shortly after his company's
entry rolled onto its side several hundred yards from the starting gate.
The Pentagon's research and development agency planned to award $1 million
to the first team whose microcircuit-and-sensor-studded vehicle could cover
the roughly 150-mile course in less than 10 hours.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was sponsoring the Grand
Challenge to foster development of autonomous vehicles that could be used
Defense officials foresee using the driverless, remote control-free robots
to ferry supplies in war zones.
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