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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tartan Racing wins $2 million prize for DARPA URBAN CHALLENGE

Tartan Racing’s “Boss” of Pittsburgh, Penn., turned in the top performance in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge and won the $2 million cash prize as the competition’s first-place winner, DARPA announced on Nov 4th. Stanford Racing’s “Junior” of Stanford, Calif., won the $1 million second place prize, while Victor Tango’s “Odin” of Blacksburg, Va., received $500,000 for finishing third.

Urban Challenge prize winners competed as part of a field of 11 finalists that was selected from 35 semifinalists that competed in the National Qualification Event (NQE) prior to the final event. Semifinalists were selected from the original field of 89 competitors.

Vehicles that competed in the Urban Challenge were required to operate entirely autonomously, without human intervention, as they obeyed California traffic laws and performed maneuvers such as merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles and avoiding obstacles. The vehicles had to think like human drivers and continually make split-second decisions to avoid moving vehicles, merge into traffic and safely pass through intersections. Demonstrating safe operation in an urban situation was an effective and consolidated method of testing situations the vehicles might face even while conducting missions in less populated areas.

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