Automotive DesignLine Blog
If you're like me, you may have sneaked a peek online last Saturday to follow the DARPA Grand Challenge. When I logged on in mid morning, I was surprised to see the first three robot vehicle contenders almost running neck-and-neck well past the 30 mile point along the Nevada desert road course. Considering the first Challenge last year, where no vehicle made it past eight miles, this was shaping up to be quite a horse race.
While only five of 23 competitors eventually finished the 132 mile route, most advanced well along the course compared to the previous event that saw many falter at the start. With such results within a year and a half of the inaugural race, it was perhaps analogous to having Lindbergh fly solo to Paris the year after the Wright Brothers first flight.
My only disappointment was the meager media coverage of the Challenge. And in one newspaper account, it only emphasized military utility of having robot vehicles to go in harm's wayignoring the implications for future automobiles with improved safety and mobility for drivers with lessening skills that come with age or infirmity.