Carnegie Mellon/GM Team Wins $2 Million Urban Challenge

Tartan Racing, a Carnegie Mellon/General Motors team, won the $2 million first prize last night in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Urban Challenge -- a competition in which robotic cars were required to independently navigate a 55-mile urban course in California that featured moving traffic, traffic circles, and obstacles. The course is similar to many military theaters today, which is why DARPA wanted to test the best robotic technologies in this way. A Stanford University team finished second and won $1 million, while a Virginia Tech team won $500,000 for finishing third.

DARPA Director Tony Tether presented the winning check to Dr. William "Red" Whittaker, Fredkin Research Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute and the leader of the 49-member Tartan Racing team. Whittaker also is chief scientist of Workhorse Technologies, a company that pioneers the development of mobile robots for hazardous work environments.

The announcement of the winner did not immediately follow the competition because judges had to compare score sheets, and the vehicles' starting times were staggered. Tether said none of the three winning teams was marked down for traffic violations.

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