Automotive DesignLine Blog
If racing improves the breed, then the announcement from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of its third Grand Challenge is good news for robotics and autonomous vehicle technology development.
The agency's Urban Challenge (sounds sort of like an American Idol competition for soul singers) will require autonomous vehicles to function in a city-like traffic setting for 60 miles, in less than six hours. The contest will simulate military vehicle operations for proposed use in combat situations. The event takes place late in 2007 at a site to be determined.
This is great news for all techies who followed last year's DARPA robot race across the desert. But the even better news is that the resulting technologies should see impact in the auto industry to help maintain mobility for a population skewed with aging Baby Boomers who value their independent lifestyle.