One of the most intriguing contests ever conceived , the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge for autonomous robotic ground vehicles will take place on November 3, 2007, at an undisclosed location in the western United States.
First prize will be US$2 million, second gets US$1,000,000 and third takes home US$500,000, awards that will go to the top three finishers to complete the 60-mile course through traffic within the six hour time limit. The fully autonomous ground vehicles will be tested to the full, conducting simulated military supply missions safely and effectively in a mock urban area. To succeed, vehicles must obey traffic laws while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections, and avoiding obstacles. Human understanding of the technology required to make vehicles smarter and safer will grow rapidly in the preparation for the contest and expedite the time when we’ll be switching to autopilot for long journeys on intelligent roads in our intelligent cars.