Racing robots

BBC News: Robot rally cars face tough race.

Twenty-three cars are setting off on a remarkable race across the desert. From a distance, the cars look like any other rally cars tearing down the dusty roads. But closer inspection reveals that something odd is going on. There’s no-one sitting in the driving seat of any of the cars. Nor are they being steered by remote control. This is the Grand Challenge, the world’s toughest race for robot vehicles – cars that drive themselves. There is $2m (£1m) on offer to the car that completes the 135 mile course in the fastest time. To win it the cars will have to drive 20 times further than any robot car has ever driven itself before. The race has been organised by Darpa, the US government’s military research arm, who are keen to develop driverless technology.

They’re planning a 60 mile follow-up race in an urban environment where the cars will have to obey traffic law, that’ll be much harder to program.