click above image for more pics from the 2007 DARPA Urban Grand Challenge

Route 66 passes right through Victorville, California, which is also home to the Route 66 Museum. Much breathless prose has been expended on the joys of piloting your buggy down the Great Diagonal Way. Antithetical to getting your kicks on Route 66 is the DARPA Urban Grand Challenge, hosted by Victorville. The contest, with a $2 million dollar, prize saw 11 teams send off driverless cars with a couple pats on the bumper and the admonishment to write home if they got work. Past DARPA Challenge winner Stanford got its car across the finish line first, with teams from Carnegie Mellon and Virginia Tech also managing to squeak across in the allotted six hours. Cornell and MIT-based teams were over the time limit, and a couple of teams had their vehicles lose their minds or crack into each other. In all, the contest was far more successful than the initial running in 2004, when nobody finished. The winner will be announced later today and be crowned based on speed as well as safety through the 60-mile course. Autoblog editor emeritus John McElroy was in attendance and will have his report for us on the DARPA Urban Grand Challenge later in the week.

[Source: Reuters, photos by STRINGER/Getty]

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