Autonomous robot cars



Pictured: Robotic car


The US Government is to sponsor a the third in a series of research projects for autonomous unmanned robot cars, this time driving around a mock urban area.

The vehicles will be required to navigate around traffic and pass other vehicles and drive within the road laws even stopping at intersections and giving way at roundabouts. The vehicle will be required to drive a 100 kilometre course to complete the task.

The previous challenge in 2005 required the autonomous vehicle to drive a 132 mile course through the Mojave Desert. Here they had to avoid obstacles and drive through the harsh surrounds but the 2007 course will be much more challenging and will require a the next generation of robotics and computer logic to complete the course.

The Government sponsorship is part of the DARAP (Defence Advanced Research Project) which is working on producing robotic vehicles for war zones and this competition will help research and give great interest in further development of robotic self driving vehicles.

First prize for the competition will be US$2 million so there is plenty of interest from the engineering community from private and public companies and universities.

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