Stanford team's robotic car wins $1 million

Stanford University announced Monday that the Stanford Racing Team’s robotic car Junior won $1 million over the weekend after finishing second in the DARPA Urban Challenge.

Junior, a modified Volkswagen Passat, successfully made an approximately 60-mile journey through simulated traffic with no human help.

“It is a historic event. It is the first time it has ever happened,” racing team co-leader Sebastian Thrun said.

The challenge, held at a former Air Force base in Victorville, was sponsored by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its goal was to demonstrate that robots could make decisions about routes and maneuvers, follow traffic laws and perceive and understand the driving environment.

Thrun, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford, said the research that went into creating Junior could someday be used to make automotive transportation safer, either by assisting human drivers or perhaps giving them the option of giving up the wheel entirely when they don’t want to drive or shouldn’t drive.

“Junior looked competent, elegant and agile, but not too fast, not reckless. That’s the theme we have on our team, which is that speed is not everything. It’s really about safety,’’ Thrun said.

The winning team was from Carnegie Mellon University.

— Bay City News

businessLocalScience & TechnologyScience and Technology

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read