Robots, Start Your Engines

University and research lab teams to compete on mock city course
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2007 12:30 PM CDT
Princeton university student Jonathan Mayer sits in a car nearby as he uses a remote device to try to regain control of a driverless SUV after it drove off the road into a field Monday, July 9, 2007,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Some of the most high-tech vehicles in the world will compete for big money by zipping around a race course tomorrow, all without one low-tech component—a human driver. Eleven robotic vehicles will race in a simulated city environment at a former Air Force base in California, Forbes reports. The winner gets $2 million and a crack at military contracts.

Top robotics teams from leading universities will compete in the Urban Challenge, run by a military agency known as DARPA. The goal is to develop technology that would allow driverless vehicles to deliver supplies to troops. The cars will have to make real-time decisions about roadblocks, lane changes, and intersections. Dozens of cars with real drivers will also be on the course.