Tuesday, May 15, 2007

2007 DARPA Urban Challenge update

The San Jose Mercury News reports on some teams local to Silicon Valley that advanced to the next round of DARPA's 2007 Urban Challenge, a competition to develop robotic vehicles that can work in urban traffic environments. The competition will be held in November. The winner of the previous (but non-urban) challenge, the Stanford Racing Team, is one of these competitors. It includes contributions from Stanford's computer and engineering departments whose past students include many famous entrepreneurs, including the ones in charge of the blog software I'm using. You can see on the Stanford Team's sponsorship page that the Google folks remember their roots. (Well, it wasn't all that long ago). Take a look at the Stanford Team's web page; you can see it's a major effort.

The Mercury News article also mentions the Sydney-Berkeley Driving Team (the news article and DARPA put Berkeley first; the team puts Sydney first), again with some pretty impressive team member bios and sponsors. The final team mentioned is Team Orange, again obviously a big effort. Fundraising was made easier for many of the teams by $1 million grants from DARPA.

There are too many teams for me to describe, but DARPA has a list of links to the various registered competitors' web pages.