Nearly 90 teams in 2007 robot car race

A government agency named the final 89 contestants to compete in the 2007 Urban Challenge, an autonomous robot race through city traffic with a $2 million prize.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) said Wednesday that all but three of the 23 teams that raced in 2005's Grand Challenge, across the Mojave desert, will compete next year. Notable returns are the 2005 winner, Stanford Racing Team, 2005 finisher Team Oshkosh Truck (Terramax) and Team CalTech.

But Carnegie Mellon, a pioneer of robotics with two vehicles in last year's race, retired its Sandstorm, a modified Hummer that had performed in DARPA's first two Grand Challenges, but failed to finish in time. (I guess racing a robot Hummer in downtown traffic may not be the best bet.) Team Tartan Racing will lead the CMU charge in 2007.

Others robots to tackle the challenge of autonomous city-driving include the French team DOTMOBIL, Team MIT from Cambridge, Mass., and a group called "A Bunch of Dropouts" from Kingman, Ariz. Should be interesting.



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