Robot Race Ruined

The great DARPA robot race didn’t have the desired outcome: Problems prompt early end to $1M robot race

A $1 million race across the Mojave Desert by driverless robots ended Saturday after all 15 entries either broke down or withdrew, a race official said.

Two of the entries covered about seven miles of the roughly 150-mile course while eight failed to make it to the one-mile mark. Others crashed seconds after starting.

The race ended after about four hours when the final competitors were disabled, said Col. Jose Negron, race program manager. Competitors suffered a variety of problems that included stuck brakes, broken axles, rollovers and malfunctioning satellite navigation equipment.

One six-wheeled robot built by a Louisiana team was disqualified after it became entangled in barbed wire.

“It’s a tough challenge — it’s a grand challenge — you can always bet that it’s not doable. But if you don’t push the limits, you can’t learn,†Ensco Inc. engineer Venkatesh Vasudevan told The Associated Press shortly after his company’s entry rolled onto its side several hundred yards from the starting gate.

I guess we’re not ready to replace infantrymen with robots just yet.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Yikes- Interesting how far off the mark current technology is. I had expected a far better showing. I know they say they learned a lot but in reality it was a bloodbath.