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$2 Million on the Table for DARPA Urban Challenge

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the go-robo-racer-go dept.

The Military 88

coondoggie writes "The contestants: Thirty-five driverless vehicles. The goal: to navigate an intricate faux-urban environment quickly. The prize: $2 million for the fastest qualifying vehicle. 'The National Qualification Event will take place this weekend ... DARPA says its third-annual Urban Challenge program has the lofty goal of developing technology that will keep soldiers off the battlefield and out of harm's way. The Urban Challenge features autonomous ground vehicles maneuvering in a mock city environment, executing simulated military supply missions while merging into moving traffic, navigating traffic circles, negotiating busy intersections, and avoiding obstacles.'" I'll be cheering, as long as the creepy robot bear isn't participating.

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solution (5, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134109)

DARPA says its third-annual Urban Challenge program has the lofty goal of developing technology that will keep soldiers off the battlefield and out of harm's way.

We already have that. It's called congress. It's just broken right now.

Re:solution (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134681)

Too bad the other guys (it takes two baby-aahah) only have this violent bastard known as allah. Lots of people want to pretend he has nothing to do with the facts at hand, but all the guys fighting seem to scream "we kill for allah", apparently they get this out of some book, so I'm starting to suspect something.

Anybody got this book that says allah wants people to kill eachother, it's kor-something. Apparently it has a good violent chapter involving selling women for money, or just kidnapping them, although all the reviews say it's boring as hell. Perhaps there's a rewrite with some car chases ?

Re:solution (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135447)

If only those dirty terrorists would follow the peaceful teachings of the Old Testament- oh wait...

(2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

Besides infidels, the Bible commands us to execute fortune tellers, gays, women who are not virgins on thier wedding night, people who curse at thier parents, and people who work on the Sabbath...all sensible rules to live by...given to us directly from an all knowing God.

http://www.evilbible.com/Murder.htm [evilbible.com]

-B

Re:solution (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135645)

You forgot to mention the pedophiles in the Bible too.

Pity they dont like talking about those parts of the Bible in church.

Re:solution (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136025)

Mind enlightening us on who these pedophiles are?

Re:solution (3, Informative)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136203)

Most people these days don't understand the difference between Pedophilia and Ephebophila. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephebophilia [wikipedia.org] One is unnatural (doesn't make sense biologically), the other is simply culturally unacceptable. Back in the days when the average life expectancy was 40 years old, it made a lot of sense to marry a 14 year old. These days it makes more sense to have young teens continue their education and social development, consequentially our cultural perceptions of what is acceptable have changed.

Re:solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137535)

14? Mohammed is said to have married a nine-year-old.

Re:solution (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139223)

The Old Testament and the Quran are both pretty nasty. In fact the Quran is a hacked version of Jewish holy texts which are also the basis for the Old Testament. All these are utterly appalling from a modern point of view because they were written by the semi literate leaders of Taliban like nomads. If you wanted to stay leader you needed to provide your followers with a steady stream of slaves and booty and religion was just a way to justify the wars that you sent them off to fight to get it. In a very real sense, the purpose of these texts is to convince people that raping and murdering people is actually the right thing to do despite the fact that most people know intuitively that it isn't.

The difference is that Christians have the relatively benign New Testament as well. I also think that Christianity got eroded in the Enlightenment [wikipedia.org] to the point where it is no longer incompatible with a modern society. Before that it certainly was, look at Galileo. So bringing up the Old Testament to show that Christianity is as bad as Islam is pretty disingenuous.

Re:solution (1)

Dark_MadMax666 (907288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160725)

Please allow me to disagree on this little part :

that raping and murdering people is actually the right thing to do despite the fact that most people know intuitively that it isn't.
Humans were raping and murdering each other since we existed as a species. And there are good evidence that our ancestor apes did that too (and you can observe similar behaviour on modern chimps). So that is "intuitively" right thing to do. NOT doing so is in fact more modern construct, developed as there was need to keep people together on a scale more than a few warring tribes (e.g. country).

how about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134115)

robot children soldiers ? The US used them in Burma in WWII,.

Sure winner (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134135)

My entry, the mechanical turck is a shoo in to win it all.

Is a good thing the are working on this (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134137)

Because the wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And their duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots.

Traffic Circles (3, Funny)

Erioll (229536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134163)

Screw cars that will parallel park themselves, if they can make cars that navigate those abominations that are Traffic Circles, I'd buy THAT!

Re:Traffic Circles (2, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134417)

Traffic circles are simple. You just can wait for an engraved invitation to enter the circle. Usually I get caught behind one of these folks and watch with amazement as they pass up opportunity after opportunity.

Re:Traffic Circles (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141369)

Maybe there are a lot of vampires in your area? I seem to remember something about them not being able to enter circles without being invited.

Re:Traffic Circles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21136315)

Did you get stuck on Dupont Circle again?

Re:Traffic Circles (1)

HyperJ (940722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137819)

Why not just close your eyes and drive, which I believe is the philosophy the French follow? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZfiiSXqeSk [youtube.com]

Re:Traffic Circles (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138347)

Traffic Circles? Yeah, it does suck living in New Jersey. Get with the rest of the world and build some roundabouts.

Yes, there is a difference. Wikipedia knows.

(Roundabouts are generally smaller, and ALWAYS follow the "yield when entering" system, unlike traffic circles in NJ)

Re:Traffic Circles (1)

vectra14 (470008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21141069)

(Preface: I'm a member of one of the DUC teams. I'm at the NQE right now.)

There *is* a traffic circle, although not really a roundabout. 2 lanes all around, moving in the same direction. Several merges and exits. Seems like teams are OK with it so far but that course currently doesn't seem to include moving traffic.

where do the civilians go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134215)

But I guess with a robotic army there won't any need to overreact to threatening situations and just kill all men, women, and children within a 200 yd. radius, like we're currently have to do in Iraq.

Come on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134221)

Nobody takes DARPA seriously since the radically changed the Grand Challenges rules every week and lied, denying that they ever changed the rules.

Start reporting on News for Nerds, not News for Suckers.

Andy Out!

Re:Come on.... (1)

bullwin69 (521778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134357)

I'm glad everybody does not have your opinion. Remember the Internet before it was the internet? Go Little Ben

Ahh, retirement... (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134233)

God but I love technology! The old WWII vets are all worried about losing their mobility when the state determnes they're no longer fit to drive. By the time I'm that old (and I have gray hair and a white beard already) I'll have Sally. [wikipedia.org]

Military implications? Pshaw, I want my car to drive me home when I'm too drunk to drive myself!

-mcgrew

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134877)

Only when you're too drunk?

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21156049)

No, it would be nice to be able to read, or watch the scenery go by as I was travelling. But it would be even nicer to be able to get home from a bar without staggering or calling a cab! I try not to drink farther than staggering distance.

Of course, when I retire I may just stop getting sober.

Re:Ahh, retirement... (2, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136023)

Pshaw, I want my car to drive me home when I'm too drunk to drive myself!

Think of all of the social changes that self driving cars would bring.

No more police checkpoints. Kids with as much freedom as drunks, old people, and "normal" adults. No speeding tickets. Car chases in the movies will have to be set in the past, and eventually will look like westerns do today. Registration, insurance, and all that is the responsibility of the _driver_ today. Terrorists will no longer have to hijack trucks and stuff.

Come to think of it, I would guess by then, going to work would require taking off your shoes, going though a metal detector, and all that prior to take off.

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21156385)

And we nerds who could hack the hardware would be menaces to society!

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137937)

I want my car to drive me home when I'm too drunk to drive myself!
I too want your car to drive you home when you are too drunk to drive. (I never go drinking with a car anymore, it used to be annoying to fetch it the next day ...).

More seriously, I am waiting for the time when cars can drive themselves. It would solve so many problems. I might be able sell my car (and join a car pool) getting perhaps $300 savings a month. Unfortunately it seems I'll be dead before that happens.

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21156443)

Unfortunately it seems I'll be dead before that happens

What, I'm 55, are you even older than me? It's not going to be that long; they already have one that parks itself on the market.

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21156621)

No, I'm younger (40 something). From parking to *legal* driving I think will take over 40 years.

I'd love to be proved wrong.

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21157477)

I hope you're wrong too, but I fear you're right. I expected cars to be driving themselves by now. OTOH, paralell parking is about the hardest thing for a human to do.

I never saw what the probelem with self-driving cars was. Edge recognition has been around for a couple of decades, as has item avoidance (it's how video games work; heck I wrote a battle tank game on a 1mz Sinclair a quarter century ago). Aside from being able to read traffic signs (and OCR has been around for at least 15 years) I really don't see what the problem is.

Of course, I never saw why it took so long to heat/AC the back seat, either. =(

-mcgrew

Re:Ahh, retirement... (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21140851)

Somewhat OT: Sally reminds me of the Police song. [oldielyrics.com]

Not so very OT though; it is similar in that it too is "replacement technology". :)

Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (1, Flamebait)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134249)

They aren't really soldiers then, are they?

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134313)

No. They are called Officers :)

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (1)

SkinnyKid63 (1104787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134337)

So does mean we will see more Democrats in the military? Or will slashdotters become the target of military recruiters?

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (1)

capoe3 (1180261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134339)

Soldiers of the future will look a whole lot more like the guys I see at QuakeCon.

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134365)

We call them the Air Force. Semper Fi!

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (2, Interesting)

Speefnarkle1982 (901875) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134571)

I don't think this sort of technology will replace soldiers right out. However, it can be
a great help in certain situations where you don't want to risk soldiers lives. EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) currently use robots to take out mines, IED's etc. These are different in the sense that they are remote controlled by well trained individuals.
I see being able to negotiate urban obstacles in overly hostile environments to be a huge advantage especially if they are entirely autonomous. You can then send in robotic vehicles into riskier situations without the concern for loss of human life.

However, the ability to plan and conduct such operations and being able to assess a real combat situation
is well beyond current technology. Then you have the whole realm of tactics and strategy, better strategy can allow for huge gains in the battle field, but would we want to leave that to robots? Over-reliance on technology to do humans jobs is a bad thing, and this is definitely a good example of that. I really don't see us ever eliminating the need for "boots on the ground", only maybe enhancing their abilities on the battlefield.

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (1)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137039)

I don't think this sort of technology will replace soldiers right out. However, it can be a great help in certain situations where you don't want to risk soldiers lives.

Agreed. In fact, my first thought when I heard of this: automated supply lines. If (and that is a BIG "if") they can get this to work, AND come up with solid evasive techniques, I could very well see a convoy of these being used to supply troops in the field. It takes a LOT of material to support an army: food, shelter, transport, fuel, parts, etc. Basically, if it wasn't there before, then it had to be transported there. And, if it won't last forever, it will need to be replaced and that means THAT will have to be transported there, too. Once they get cars automated, it's no great leap to imagine a tractor trailer (lorry) being automatically driven, as well.

Another idea: emergency driving. If my vehicle comes under fire, it'd be nice if it could handle the driving for a bit while I duck down and remain protected from the assault. Or, I've come under attack and have been sorely wounded. If I can just get in and press the "take me back home" button, that'd be worth a lot! (Of course, it works the other way, too. It'd be a really handy thing to have if you're a thief!!!)

Sadly, the cynical side of me sees this as being just another tool that a government could use to keep control over its people. The vehicles would just follow orders, no backtalk, easily replaced, and cheaper than humans.

Re:Off the battlefield and out of harm's way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21141165)

"It takes a LOT of material to support an army: food, shelter, transport, fuel, parts, etc. .... Once they get cars automated, it's no great leap to imagine a tractor trailer (lorry) being automatically driven, as well."

It's also no great leap to imagine what an attractive target an automated convoy of food, fuel, etc. would be to an insurgency in a warzone. If this ever happens in Iraq, watch the loss rate skyrocket.

What about... (5, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134275)

Caveat I haven't had a chance to read the entire challenge to see if it answers this question. I'm in Iraq I have better things to do, sort of...

Does the vehicle have to be one piece? Specifically can it launch a UAV to provide a top down view of the street? This could be then used to avoid crowds (or head towards them), get around dead ends, and generally navigate the cities. The imagery we have is often horribly out of date and roads have moved, stopped existing, or new ones have popped up.

I think having an eye in the sky dedicated to the vehicle could be a tremendous asset.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134341)

Ideally the car would be able to navigate without satellite imagery, such that it could adapt to any environment.

Re:What about... (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134413)

Hence the UAV right over head providing a live feed? Fuck AC retards

Re:What about... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134447)

...you're the retard not him. Just because you don't understand his point doesn't mean it's wrong, just that you lack imagination and thinking ability.

Smoke, clouds, fog, dust, rain, natural radio interference, terrain, tall buildings, underpasses and probably many other things are NORMAL ways to block UAV vision or transmissions. In a war environment you also have ground-to-air missiles, ground-to-ground attacks (that can damage any part of the vehicle), enemy jamming, enemy smoke screens, dust from explosions and probably many other things.

If it can't move without the UAV it is useless. If it can move without it then there is no point in testing with one as that can be done later.

Re:What about... (1)

zoogies (879569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135247)

I'm fairly certain that UAVs are way beyond the scope of the challenge.

Re:What about... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135341)

I know, I was simply explaining why that is the logical way to hold the competition.

Re:What about... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134403)

Well I assume that:
1. A dedicated UAV sent from some other location would make much more sense, launching and retrieving a UAV would be trying to make it a jack of all trades (and thus sacrifice it's ability to do any task well).
2. UAVs can be shot down, communications can be blocked and radio receivers can be damaged. If there is a single easy to exploit point of failure then the whole system is worthless. It needs to be able to move on it's own and everything else is gravy. In others there is no point in having such a capability at this stage since it'd have to be turned off for most of the test anyway.

Re:What about... (2, Insightful)

TinheadNed (142620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134787)

I haven't checked the rules, but unless something's massively changed from last time, there's no reason to launch a UAV because for a start that would be massively more complicated and more expensive than required, and secondly DARPA are still providing GPS waypoints.

But I wouldn't have thought they'd want another UAV, there are other competitions for that. Navigating round the traffic is the tricky part. And recognising all the signs and speed limits and stuff.

Re:What about... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135159)

The vehicle has to start in one piece, have a reasonable form factor (no 100ft periscopes!) and cannot eject any material other than exhaust. So no UAV's, bread crumb trails, oil slicks for your competitors, etc.

Re:What about... (1)

mpeg4codec (581587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136925)

oil slicks for your competitors
I was kind of wondering what DARPA's next challenge would be after a group won the urban challenge. Now I know: the DARPA Diddy Kong Racing Challenge.

Re:What about... (1)

Dean Hougen (970749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136655)

Many of us are working to combine teams of UAVs and UGVs for just this reason. I'm not participating in the competition, though. Dean

Re:What about... (3, Informative)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136829)

Does the vehicle have to be one piece? Specifically can it launch a UAV to provide a top down view of the street? This could be then used to avoid crowds (or head towards them), get around dead ends, and generally navigate the cities. The imagery we have is often horribly out of date and roads have moved, stopped existing, or new ones have popped up.

Yes. All of the equipment has to be on the vehicle. As far as communication goes: GPS is allowed, and a remote kill switch is allowed (required, actually). Other than that, everything is on board. Typical fare is regular cameras (which have good distance vision, but require some smart computer vision algorithms) combined with laser range finders. The winner of the last DARPA challenge was a robot named Stanley (from Stanford) who mapped laser range finding data onto the video images, thus identifying the safe path in the image to travel through.

Re:What about... (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142911)

What if the UAV took off from and landed back on the vehicle?

Re:What about... (1)

gr8scot (1172435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138069)

Yes & no. They should be able to communicate with GPS systems, but not depend on them.

I for one... (1)

SkinnyKid63 (1104787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134389)

welcome our new diverless urban navigating car overlords.

Bonus points awarded (0, Troll)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134419)

Re:Bonus points awarded (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138937)

I would not call this a troll, it's a damn serious human rights issue. Who can you stand up to for inhumane abuse of these systems? Why shouldn't they go around and shoot at running kids, the movements kids make are quite probably similar to that of someone who is suddenly attacking.

Who will be held responsible? I admit, already now it is a problem and you will most likely not see any justice as a (family member of a) victim, but at least at the moment, any attack done is a human decision. Also remember that back in the day, it was a human operator [wired.com] in a Russian Rocket base who decided the incoming rockets was a technical error, and didn't press the button.

In no way should a robot or computer make decisions about life or death issues. We humans have a conscience for a reason.

My roommate is working on this project (2, Funny)

jameseyjamesey (949408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134525)

He's seriously been working for 18 hours a day for the last 3 weeks. He looks cracked out, but he's just DARPAed

How busy are war zones? (2, Interesting)

markowen58 (917436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134529)

aside from the fact any stop signs and road markings may now be a crater. Do many soldiers get stuck in traffic in the middle of a war zone?

Surely a better idea would be to train these vehicles to drive evasively once ambushed to stop supplies from not reaching the front line?

I for one never saw a traffic report from baghdad during the war...

Re:How busy are war zones? (1)

GulagMoosh (806406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137329)

First off, they are not detecting signs of any type. Secondly, road markings are only one cue that is available for the vehicles to perform. This is an effort by DARPA to push technology forward without major investment. This effort, unlike previous efforts, did fund 10 teams for a $1 million apiece on a milestone basis. The general idea is to get good technology into the field faster and cheaper. DARPA has always had issues transitioning funded efforts into fielded products. It isn't their primary goal....they fund cutting edge stuff and let other agencies fund the into the field development.

There are numerous robotic programs in the military arena and this is a very minor one in the grand scope. Search around for ANS or FCS and you'll find much greater vision programs than the Urban Challenge. Urban Challenge gets much more media but is less significant that one would expect.

As for what is happening at UC this weekend since I'm here. Teams went through emergency stop testing today which is little more than a straight course to validate that the DARPA officials can stop any robot in the case of an emergency or temporarily pause execution.

The qualifier events start tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m across 3 different areas for the 35 teams. Area A focuses on merging with moving traffic; Area B will deal with general road navigation utilizing sparse route points, parking, and open area navigation. Area C covers handling of intersection precedence, road blockages, and U/K turn maneuvers. Each team will take on each area twice over the next few days. Up to 20 teams will be selected for the final competition after the results of the qualifying event are tabulated.

Re:How busy are war zones? (1)

Jame_Retief (1090281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137403)

What this research will REALLY do is lay the foundation for future vehicles, both military and civilian, which will not REQUIRE drivers to get from A---B. There are a number of instances in which this technology would be actively stupid to employ, such as the current situation in Iraq or AFG. Insurrections would thrive on the availability of supplies available by simple roadblocking of automated convoys (for a short period of time, anyway). Yet this tech will, eventually, be used as the foundation of vehicles which will navigate their totally wasted owners home from the bar. Or the 18-wheeler across the country. Lots of obstacle to overcome still, but this lays the groundwork for development.

Re:How busy are war zones? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139335)

aside from the fact any stop signs and road markings may now be a crater. Do many soldiers get stuck in traffic in the middle of a war zone?

Actually, look up the word "IED" on youtube and watch the videos driving on patrols where IED are used against them (Actually, this one called "I get blown up!" is a home made one of the solders from inside (warning they use a bit of a cursing)) and they are driving around in urban combats usually with other military vehicles stopped around them and other civilian ones.

Of course they drive like mad all the time because of the IEDs.

Now if the robots were sent through and the insurgents blew one up, no one dies in the process and all you have to do is send in a patrol and take out the insurgent and then send another robot.

soldiers dying is not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134839)

civilians constitute a far greater number of dead in any war, especially the current iraq war. hell, the officials in government and industry dont even care enough to count how many civilians they kill while they are toodling around in their million dollar toy gun machines.

motherF this f@#$ bulls@#$, the so-called 'scientists' involved in this should go read up on world war II, in case they skipped that 'fluff subject' in school.

First... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134847)

...one to find Sarah Conner in the nightclub wins.

Just add a cannon (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135021)

Fully automated armoured infantry.

 

"Mock" city (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135205)

An interesting choice for the "mock city" - it's layout makes it exactly like Tehran.

Hmm.

finally, autonomous driverless "suicide" bombing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135209)

with the new suicide car bombers you won't even need to control them via remote. just open the factory door and auf Wiedersehen, vergessen Sie nicht zu schreiben. but that would never happen.

Laumer, et al (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135345)

Automated robotic fighting vehicle? Sounds like a Bolo to me....

We've got these here (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135451)

In my town we have quire a few vehicles, mainly large Cadillacs, that cruise the streets with no apparent driver. They still have some bugs to work out, as they don't always stop for signals or pedestrians. And they definitely don't move very quickly.

Upon closer inspection, one can see a little grey head not quite level with the dashboard. But I don't think these occupants have any connection to the vehicles' control.

$2M for driving around a city, $20M to the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135463)

Is is just me, or does this seem like a way better deal than $20M Goog/NASA contest for getting to the moon.

I guessing that driving around in a city is at least 10 times easier than getting a rover to the moon.
Maybe Sergey should pony up more of his billions to make the moon contest less of a joke...

social irresponsability of computer scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135489)

When will we, computer scientists, stop providing technologies to militaries ?
When will we stop preferring earning good amounts of cash in order to adopt basic moral positions ?
When will we stop working for armies who always name themselves "Defense" but only attack ?

Fuck the Darpa !

Re:social irresponsability of computer scientists (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136837)

Probably right after there stop being reasons to go to war. Which will happen after people decide to treat each other decently regardless of politics, government or religion.

Of course, you can refuse to fight, you can refuse to participate. I'm sure if you stand up for your beliefs and take responsibility for yourself, people will respect your opinion. Or you could just stay anonymous, nobody's calling you a coward ... oh wait, yeah, we are.

Re:social irresponsability of computer scientists (1)

Jame_Retief (1090281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139245)

Have you ever heard the saying: What if they held a war and no one showed up? It is the bastardization of the complete verse (cannot remember the author) which goes on to talk about how the country that fails to show up for the war GETS TO BE THE SLAVES OF THE COUNTRY THAT DOES! It is a verse about how WAR IS NECESSARY to maintain freedom. But like all good wanna-be dictators, those who wish for 'freedom from war' will always only tell you what they want the truth to be.

You are all so naive it is sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21135997)

The technology DARPA is interested in developing will be used for urban "warfare".

And the reason it will be used is that the casualty rate for humans involved in such "warfare"
is unacceptable. This is according to studies which were done by the Army War College,
as well as research done by independent firms whom the Pentagon paid to look into these
situations.

The upshot is, when the powers that be ( hint : look at the guys who are running the show
now in the US to get a glimpse of the future ) want to suppress domestic rebellion, the DARPA robotic
technology WILL be used against the population of the United States. Why ? There won't be
any problem with casualty rates, because machines don't have families which might object to
a loved one coming home in a bag, and because machines will do whatever their controllers
tell them to do, without objections.

And all you people can do is be charmed by the idea that technology can do yet another neat trick ...

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Now excuse me while I puke at the very thought of all you "educated fools".

Re:You are all so naive it is sickening (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136867)

Of course! I guess I never realized how obvious it is, but now I see that you can't get people to commit atrocities against each other, now I see that the projects designed to utilize technology in new ways are really just evil people, cowards who want to remain anonymous... wait, that does sound familiar.

Out of harm's way? WTF? (2, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136245)

Developing robots for urban warfare isn't exactly going to decrease civilian deaths or injuries. It's going to increase them. The only thing it will decrease is the reports of dead US soliders. A great example of the twisted focus on 'our' deaths came recently here in Australia. The 2nd Australian solider was killed in Afghanistan. Absolutely everyone on the mainstream media and 2-party political system is falling over themselves to declare our fallen solider a hero. But no-one ever talks about the thousands of hero is Afghanistan, such as men, women and children who 'soldier on' after having their loved ones killed and injured, and classified as 'collateral damage'. These are the real heroes - the innocent civilians who face incredible hardship precisely because of our military and economic meddling in their country. Instead of developing better killing systems, we should develop a more just society. To all those drones protest that we need to fight terrorism - get a grip - we're creating the terrorism. Remove the cause, and the symptom will disintegrate.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136533)

Way to turn a nice topic about robotics into the standard diatribe.

Bonus points for mentioning the "root causes" of terrorism. Hint: it's called Islam.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136903)

Thag say war bad!

Thag say why war? Thag think must be people mad, don't make people mad! Let them do whatever they want! Thag gladly give DNS-and-BIND as peace offering to bullies.

Islam isn't bad, just kill all the people who don't convert and you'll see. (Burn karma, burn!)

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144151)

"Bonus points for mentioning the "root causes" of terrorism. Hint: it's called Islam."

Oh really ?

Tim Mcveigh wasn't a Muslim.

Lots of IRA members in Ireland weren't Muslims either.

But they sure as hell engaged in terrorist activities.

What's your point ? Do you REALLY believe that Islam = terrorism ? If so,
you're an easily led simple-minded ignorant fool.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21153269)

Oh dear. Even the Chinese are buying the US trash about the war on terror. But then, you're not a typical Chinese, are you? You're in with the dictatorship. I suppose it suits your purpose to support the whole 'war on terror' ideology. I think you need to worry less about Islam, and more about your own government. Try reading some Marx and Lenin, and get a grip on what socialism is really about, and then have a good look at the pathetic excuse for a social system in your own country.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155047)

WTF are you talking about? Just because I live in China doesn't make me Chinese. I think someone is projecting his anxieties on the world at large, because I don't get what the hell you're talking about. China is not a dictatorship. Hu Jintao's word does not travel very far at all outside Beijing. Please try to be more informed and less spittle-flecked next time.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

vandan (151516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21165631)

I don't get what the hell you're talking about. China is not a dictatorship

Oh really? You're one deluded dude. I especially like all the pro-CCP-dicatorship propaganda you have set as your home page - it makes you look really independent when you claim that China is ... what exactly, if not a dictatorship? Please tell. Actually, don't bother. Think about it to yourself. I already know the answer, and if you can't bring yourself to admit it, I'm not really interested in hearing how great China is from a rabidly pro-dictatorship wheeler and dealer.

Re:Out of harm's way? WTF? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21179185)

Dude. Seriously. Just because I buy commie posters for 50 cents apiece and sell them for $20 doesn't indicate any political views. A dictatorship has...wait for it...a dictator. Who is dictator of China? It certainly isn't Hu Jintao. His power is severely circumscribed by the Party apparatus. Also, wipe the spittle off the corners of your mouth.

Can someone please tag this "evil"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21137345)

There is absolutely nothing good to come of this. Nothing at all.

The hardware is much better than last time (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21137885)

One of the major side effects of the DARPA Grand Challenge series is that the supporting hardware has become much better. You can now buy most of the major components off the shelf. GPS/INS/compass/odometer navigation units are a few thousand dollars, rugged, and work well. When the first Grand Challenge was announced, the off-the-shelf solution cost about $170K and required 4U of rackmount space, with air conditioning. CMU actually used that in the first round.

LIDAR units have improved enormously in the last two years. Last time around, everybody just had single-beam line scanner LIDARs, usually from SICK, except for Team DAD, who built a multibeam scanner that worked but wasn't rugged enough. This time, the major players have multibeam LIDAR units from Velodyne or Ibeo. Velodyne's unit has 64 lasers on a spinning drum. Now you can image your entire environment in 3D at 5Hz.

Controlling the vehicle is easier, too. There are now cars available with electrical power steering and brakes, and one can tap into those systems to drive. And there are at least three vendors selling gear for remote/autonomous driving of existing cars.

So now it's almost entirely a software problem. You don't burn so much time and effort building sensor and actuator systems.

Another Team (1)

acaila_edhel (1164401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21139563)

There is a team in my county that is competing in this challenge. They have put out fliers before, looking for sponsors and manpower.

Here is their website: http://aimagic.org/html/agv_wendy_darling.html [aimagic.org]
The picture of the car in TFA is kind of wimpy compared with this team. Instead of trying to drive a car around a simulated city, they have outfitted a huge military truck. Here are some specs:

# M-215 Cargo Truck 2.5 ton
# GVW=18,560 lbs. Empty weight 14,460 lbs.
# GMC 2-1/2 ton
# AIM AutoPilot for driverless operation
# Six Wheel Drive
# Engine model GMC 302
# Displacement 302 cu. in. 130 hp at 3,200 rpm
# Four cycle, six cylinder
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