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DARPA Announces 2005 Grand Challenge Semifinalists

June 13, 2005

The Defense Advanced Research projects Agency (DARPA) has announced the 40 teams selected to advance to the semifinals of the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 autonomous ground vehicle competition. The teams come from 14 states and Canada and represent varied backgrounds including universities, individuals, corporations, and a high school.

The 40 teams will compete head-to-head in the National Qualification Event (NQE) at the California Speedway in Fontana, September 27 to October 5, 2005 where 20 of the 40 teams will be selected to compete for the $2 million prize in the Grand challenge Event, scheduled for October 8, 2005.

DARPA selected the semifinalists from a field of 118 entrants, using results from on-site visits conducted by DARPA technical staff in May 2005. During the site visits, DARPA thoroughly evaluated the capability of each team’s vehicle to autonomously navigate a narrow 200-meter course that contained turns and randomly placed obstacles.

“The high quality of vehicle performance that we witnessed during the site visits is truly impressive,” said DARPA Directory Dr. Anthony Tether. “We are thrilled with the sheer excitement about developing autonomous ground vehicles that the Grand challenge has sparked among people from all walks of life. It was difficult to winnow the field from the 118 great teams to only 40 – the competition was tough.”

DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 is a field test of robotic ground vehicles for the purpose of advancing autonomous vehicle technology. The vehicles must travel approximately 150 miles over rugged desert roads using only onboard sensors and navigation equipment to find and follow the route and avoid obstacles. DARPA will award $2 million to the team whose autonomous vehicle successfully completes the 2005 route the fastest within a 10-hour time period. All vehicles are developed without Government funding.

For more information about the DARPA Grand Challenge, including details on selected teams, visit www.darpa.mil/GrandChallenge.

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