Remember William "Red" Whittaker? He is the ex-marine turned college prof that competed in both the 2004 and 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge with a pair of autonomous H1 HUMMERs named H1ghlander and Sandstorm. Unfortunately for Red, neither HUMMER was able to beat Stanley, the autonomous Volkswagen Touareg from Standard, in last year's challenge that actually saw competitors finish the course for the first time.

Things might be different at next year's DARPA Urban Challenge in which vehicles will have to autonomously pilot themselves through a 60-mile urban course. Red and his team at Carnegie Mellon University will partner with General Motors this year to form Tartan Racing and field a driverless Tahoe as their entrant. Not only does Carnegie Mellon get the free SUV to use, the team will be composed of researchers from both the university and GM. The automaker sees the sponsorship as the fastest way to advance the research and development of future driving aid technologies, while we get the feeling that Red and the college boys just want to beat the pants off of Stanford next year.

[Source: GM]

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