DARPA Grand Challenge: Million-Dollar Babies

More than a year ago, DARPA awarded 11 teams $1 million each in seed money for vehicle R&D. Of the 60 applicants, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Autonomous Solutions, Virginia Polytechnic, CalTech, Cornell, The Golem Group, Honeywell, Raytheon and OshKosh were the only ones with proposals deemed worthy of the prize. So, what's a million dollars get ya these days? Anything from a mostly stock Toyota Highlander Hybrid to a gigantanormous robotic monster truck that belches Terminator sounds when in autonomous mode. Every team has a unique approach, and while similar hardware shows up on many of the vehicles, nobody seems to have the exact combination to match anyone else. Case in point. Last year's winner thinks it can get the job done without any optical cameras; Autonomous Solutions figures Windows XP is up to the task of commanding an SUV. Things are bound to get interesting on the A Track, and we're not even to the privately funded B Track entrants. [DARPA Grand Challenge]