In an effort to stay on the bleeding edge of old crap-bucket technology, the 24 Hours of LeMons has now created a prize specifically for autonomous vehicles. The X Ceedingly Bad Idea Prize will award one million shiny new nickels to the first team that manages to pilot an autonomous vehicle to a win. We assume that carries a caveat of not killing anyone in the process. As always, the vehicle itself can't cost more than $500, though the associated technological wizardry required to keep the driverless machine on the track doesn't count toward that grand total.

Madness? Probably, but we would feel more comfortable sharing the course with a computer than some of the tactically inept drivers we've seen bashing around the track in our time. The next 24 Hours of LeMons race kicks off at New Jersey Motorsports Park on April 14-15, but you need to get your application in by February 4. Get cracking, people. In the meantime, hit the jump to check out the press release.
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"X Ceedingly Bad Idea Prize" Announced for Autonomous LeMons Cars

Emeryville CA–In a bid to eliminate the typical team's weakest link, 24 Hours of LeMons, Inexplicably Presented by Car and Driver will begin taking driverlessautonomous vehicles immediately. Defined as computer-controlled, self-piloting mobile platforms, "autonomous vehicles" (AV) are not to be confused with "terrible hoopties whose idiot drivers bail out" (THWIDBO), of which the series has plenty already.

To accelerate the shift from human drivers to the better-smelling silicon variant, LeMons has also instituted the X Ceedingly Bad Idea Prize, an award of one million nickels to the race's first AV winner. Before being allowed to compete, AVs must demonstrate safety and on-track performance on par with those of regular LeMons teams, including the ability to ignore yellow flags; stop dead in mid-corner for no reason; never find the racing line; and argue irrationally when called in for penalties.

While AV equipment is exempt from the series' $500 price cap, both Google and Carnegie-Mellon quickly announced they'd go after the Prize using new systems based on such LeMons-appropriate technologies as wooden legs, Atari Pong consoles, GM Cross-Fire Injection, and string. Humans wearing C3PO costumes are ineligible.

Next AV Racing Opportunities

New Jersey: New Jersey Motorsports Park, 14-15 April (apply by Feb 4th)

Michigan: Gingerman Raceway, 21-22 April (apply by Feb 11th)

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 5-6 May (apply by Feb 25th)

Go to www.24HoursofLeMons.com or www.CarandDriver.com/LeMons


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Humans wearing C3PO costumes are ineligible." Good thing they added that.
      Richard
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's awesome!!!! I love waiting every year to see what kind of $hit bucket competitors there are fighting for 50 Grand with a sub $500 car.... The 24 Hours of LeMons has to be THE MOST amusing race of the season!!
      TOGO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love the 43 super bird mock up, is that an old BMW 5 series?
        DrEvil
        • 2 Years Ago
        @TOGO
        5 series was always 4 door, that would be an old 6 series.
      Peter Brown
      • 2 Years Ago
      This group sponsors some really serious racing under the guise of a fun weekend.
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Peter Brown
        I'd love to go see a LeMons event live - it's going back to the root of racing.
      evannever
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've got to get to a LeMons or Chump Car series this year. They really look like fun. If I didn't have a toddler in the house I'd try to join a team.
      RWD
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this is great! A racing series with cheap beaten up cars that aren't afraid to smash into each other, a perfect place to test an autonomous car. Think of the amount of information that can be attained, like the effect of accidents and handling on the limit, they could really fine tune the driverless car with more events like this. I'd love to see an all autonomous series, it would be like Forza for real! Load a more aggressive driver!
      Clutchey
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hahahaha. This made me laugh.
      William J
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be in New Jersey.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      fgworth
      • 2 Years Ago
      24 hours of "le mons" ?? Seriously ? Ever hear of LeMans ?
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fgworth
        Why is there always one moron who thinks the article is about Le Mans?
        S.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fgworth
        Reading comprehension FTW!
        lxixwithu
        • 2 Years Ago
        @fgworth
        Ever hear of Edsel? That's a Ford that swallowed a lemon. If it swallowed multiple lemons then it would be Le Mons.
      sdtiburon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Auto Blog may wish to check the correct spelling of Le Mans before putting it on their headline of this story. "24 Heures Du Mans" is the official title of the event.
        speedofcatl
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sdtiburon
        It's a play on word's. LeMons=Lemons. They are correct.
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sdtiburon
        So those are LeMans race cars in the picture? Didn't think so. Seriously, read the god damn article before commenting.
      James Bridges
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds Like a Great idea NOT!!!!!!!! remote controled vehicles have no place on a Race track because they would be a menace because even the best remotly controlled vehicle ever maybe went 20 mph and was the only vehicle moving
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @James Bridges
        There's a pretty big difference between autonomous and remote controlled. Autonomous vehicles have proven to be just as good as an average driver, just without the human error factor being put into it. There's even a yearly event in which big manufacturers compete with autonomous vehicles.
        Anthony Sims
        • 2 Years Ago
        @James Bridges
        If your talking about those scale 9v cars you buy at radio shack thats a hilarious idea. If you're talking about full size autonomous vehicles Google's driverless cars have been roaming California for a year or so now.
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