A proffered $1 million prize for the winner of a robot truck race staged by DARPA in the Mojave Desert went unclaimed in mid-March because no winner emerged.
Only seven robot trucks completed the first mile in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Grand Challenge – a 148-mile (238-km) desert race. Race rules required the robot trucks to race across the desert without human intervention. (See related story: Autonomous Vehicles Face DARPA Torture Test)
None of the robot trucks finished the DARPA challenge.
Even though DARPA shortened the race from a planned 250 miles (402 km) to 148 miles, none of the robot vehicles were up to the task. That wasn't a surprise because most experts didn't hold out much hope that any vehicle could complete the course.
Robot vehicles entered by Carnegie Mellon University and SciAutonics II of Thousand Oaks, CA, traveled the furthest. But they could only manage slightly more than 7 miles (11 km).
DARPA's $1 million prize will be offered again in 18-24 months. Meanwhile, the government agency will mull over the results and consider whether any of the technology has future use.