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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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      It'll navigate the course fine, but it will run out of gas 1/2 through.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As far as us drivers go... this is preatty scary technology... Please let me explain as best as I can.

      I think if understand correctly what the military really wants most out of this exersise is the ablity to provide logisic support to personal on the battle field, without tying up, or risking logistic personal to do so. Or as its better understood. Driverless supply trucks.

      If you think about it from the Art of War stand point... The people that are most likly to die on the battle field is not the heavily armed warriors holding the front line. When they do there job, they kill. When they don't do there job, they are not there too kill.

      Who really is in danger to die is the support that supply the front line. After all, Teaching people to drive is expensive and a needlessly boring task to the military. And what the Military really wants to do is teach people to fight and kill.

      Is this a waste of money? Yes and no... If the support troops are trained to fight too, they just have as much chance to survive as the frontline. But they don't have the capablity too, and life is more important then expensive equipment.

      Could this end up putting millions of truck drivers out of work. Yes... Expecally if it works for the military as planned..

      Will the avrage commuter be next to be forced out of the driver seat... If it works for the military, and for the Commerical trucking industry, why not? And if you see that as well as I do... that should scare you.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It is valid so perfectly?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Since it is an urban course, it should not have any problem locating 7 to 10 gas stations to refuel along the way.

      Unless it is looking for E85, in which case it might make a few thousand miles detour...
      • 8 Years Ago
      lol Autoblog...Standard?! It's from STANFORD, as in the university.
      What the heck does "he autonomous Volkswagen Touareg from Standard"
      mean?Seriously, did you guys start using spellcheck,
      only to accept every single suggestion no matter how ridiculous it is?