If anybody is following this event, a bit of back ground:
The US military and congress want 1/3 of all military ground vehicles to be unmanned by 2015. To get things going, the Clinton admin. started DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency).
DARPA, in good old Yankee ingenuity fashion, started a contest that had vehicles “crossing 200 miles of rugged terrain between Barstow and Las Vegas in under 10 hours with no human assistance. After turning their vehicles on, the teams simply sit back and watch. The first team to cross the finish line wins a cool $1 million.”
The date for this event is March 13, 2004."
THE MOTORCYCLE ANGLE:
“Anthony Levandowski and the Blue Team threw the Pentagon a curve by entering a small, off-road motorcycle.
"We're not thinking about the easiest solution," Levandowski said. "We're thinking about the best solution."
Now the crappy US political bit:
All contestants had to submit details by Mid October and the numbers started at 50 then jumped to over 100. DARPA claimed they were overwhelmed and limited the number of contestants to only 20 of their choice. “The remaining teams whose technical papers were judged "Possibly Acceptable" must request an onsite visit from a DARPA official and then fight for one of the six remaining spots.”
A whole lot of pissed off people who were excluded from this then set up he International Robot Racing Federation, who now are taking the original concept and running wild with scissors by the pool. The contest is now 300miles, the prize is still $1MIL US but the date is now Oct 1st 2004.
If you want background, just type DARPA in google and you will get a crapload of sites. DARPA is into drones like ugly on an ape and it's good to see that little guys in the US with a good idea have a chance. I'd like to hear more about that guy in New Zeland who wanted to make (and doccument) his own civilian cruise missile but he was shut down due to security concerns.