After the DARPA dust settled, only 40 minutes separated the first, second and third place contenders for this year's $2 million bounty. The Carnegie Mellon team, behind the virtual wheel of a tech'd-out Tahoe dubbed the "Boss," won the DARPA Urban Challenge, the first event held in a mock city environment.

The Mellon crew beat out Stanford, Virginia Tech and MIT, and according to Wired's report, none of the top competitors were cited for traffic violations – something that most manned vehicles can't claim. Average speeds ranged from 13 to 14 mph over the course of the 55-mile trek. There was no mention of top speed and we're still uncertain about what specific obstacles were set out to befuddled the ghosts inside the machine.

There's no word yet on whether the DARPA event will continue, as many maintain that since the technical end of things have been sorted, it's time for private firms to take the lead. We'll have more on DARPA when Mr. McElroy reports on the event later in the week.

[Sources: GM (Press Release after the jump), Wired]


PRESS RELEASE

GM and Carnegie Mellon Bring Home the "Boss" in Driverless Vehicle Challenge

Victorville, Calif. - The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing Team, with it's GM Chevrolet Tahoe "Boss" entry, claimed first prize today in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Urban Challenge. The Urban Challenge is a competition between vehicles that drive themselves in a mock urban environment.

"This competition has significantly advanced our understanding of what is needed to make driverless vehicles a reality," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and Strategic Planning. "Imagine being virtually chauffeured safely in your car while doing your e-mail, eating breakfast and watching the news. The technology in "Boss" is a stepping stone toward delivering this type of convenience."

GM is focused on reinventing the automobile in ways that enhance driving safety and reduce traffic congestion, energy consumption and emissions," Burns continued. "We look forward to integrating the technology we used in this race into our cars and trucks, and to ensuring future personal transportation is sustainable."

In addition to GM and Carnegie Mellon University, the Tartan Team is supported by the following sponsors: Caterpillar, Continental AG, Intel, Google, Applanix, TeleAtlas, Vector, Ibeo, Mobileye, CarSim, CleanPower Resources, M/A-COM, NetApp, Vector, CANtech and Hewlett Packard.