After decades of underachieving, artificial intelligence produced self-driving cars last October, when five autonomous vehicles successfully finished Darpa's Grand Challenge, a 132-mile closed course through open desert (search www.eetimes. com, article ID 172301198). In the prior year's race, every entrant had either stalled or crashed within seven miles.
The winner was a Stanford University team's souped-up Volkswagen Touareg called Stanley. The team garnered a $2 million cash prize, which it plans to split between an enduring fellowship and a fleet of new autonomous vehicles.
The next goal: city driving. Darpa is in the planning stages of a follow-on to its Grand Challenge, unofficially called the "Urban Challenge."