DARPA sets next robot race

DARPA Web site

Officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to run their next Grand Challenge race in October 2005.

The Grand Challenge is a competition designed to spur companies, academic institutions and private researchers to develop vehicles that can navigate without human operators. DARPA officials said the prize for the 2005 race will double that of 2004 to $2 million for the winning team. The course runs from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The 2004 race, run in March, featured no winners, as none of the teams was able to make it more than a few miles from the starting line.

DARPA director Anthony Tether, called the event a "challenge for American ingenuity."

"It brings together individuals and organizations from the research and development community, industry, government, the armed services, academia, professional societies and from the ranks of students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts," Tether said in a statement.

In the first DARPA Grand Challenge, 15 teams from a field of 106 applicants progressed to the final event. DARPA officials anticipate even larger participation in Grand Challenge 2005. They did not say whether the course would be the same as last year's, or whether the beginning and end destinations would be the same.

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