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DARPA Grand Challenge – a pioneering event for autonomous robotic ground vehicles

John Fulton (Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Joanne Pransky (US Associate Editor for Industrial Robot)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



For the time in its 45‐year history, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) reached beyond its standard defense contractors and out to the public, and in 2004 held the DARPA Grand Challenge in an effort to attract innovation in order to achieve a military mandate of having one‐third of America's ground combat vehicles unmanned by the year 2015. DARPA offered a cash prize of US$1 million to an automonous robotic vehicle that could navigate a 142 mile course in the Mojave desert in less than 10 h. Over 100 applications were submitted, and after further evaluations, DARPA narrowed the field to 25 finalists. After qualifying trials, 15 vehicles confronted the starting line on 13 March 2004. Though the farthest a vehicle got was 7.4 miles, the event was viewed as a technological breakthrough. This paper describes the systems that were set‐up to monitor and control the event, and features of the various robots.



Fulton, J. and Pransky, J. (2004), "DARPA Grand Challenge – a pioneering event for autonomous robotic ground vehicles", Industrial Robot, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 414-422.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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