Have you heard of ‘The Grand Challenge’ by DARPA? The challenge was set up to aid in the development of technologies and to create the first fully autonomous ground vehicles capable of completing a substantial off-road course within a limited time frame.
The challenge was started in in 2004 and run in the Mojave dessert, USA. The route followed along a 150-mile (240 km) path of the I15 Interstate, from Barstow, California to the California–Nevada border in Primm.
None of the vehicles that entered the first race finished the route. Carnegie Mellon University’s Car, Sandstorm (a converted Humvee) traveled the farthest distance, completing 11.78 km (7.32 mi) of the course before getting stuck on a rock after making a tight turn. In 2004 there were no winners declared, and the cash prize was not given. As DARPA had intended to give the cash price regardless, a second Grand Challenge event was scheduled for 2005, and the price money was doubled to $2 Million. Runners up in 2nd and 3rd place each received $1 million and $0.5 million respectively.
The challenge provided a great opportunity for for the development of autonomous technologies and gave a lot of people a reason to develop this field. We personally think some of the cars also look very cool and hope you do to!
If you know of any opportunities that have helped push forward AI and robotic technologies then post it below, we will be sure to check them out!
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