You are probably familiar with the driverless cars that compete in the DARPA challenge. We've shown you some of them in the past. Here is a Prius which is set to compete this year between October 26th and 31st in a qualifying event in Victorville, California. This year, the challenge will be to navigate an urban course, meaning that there will be many obstacles and plenty of tall buildings, power lines, trees and the like to interfere with the machines. Pretty much all of the machines in the competition will be using similar hardware, although bolted and welded to different cars, so it is the software that makes the largest difference.
According to the group who created the autonomous Prius, made up of members from Lehigh University and Penn University, the reason the hybrid was chosen is due to the onboard battery-pack. That battery is capable of powering all of the electronics that are necessary for the competition. Obviously, the inherently good gas mileage of the hybrid is also appreciated. According to team member Alex Steward, "There have been times when no one can remember the last time we filled the gas tank."
[Source: The Allenton Morning Call]