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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Driverless robots reach milestone in DARPA race

PRIMM VALLEY, NEV.--Stanford University's Racing Team has accomplished a historic feat of robotics, finishing first in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 131.6-mile driverless car race that no artificially intelligent machine has ever conquered before.

"We had a great day," said Sebastian Thrun, director of Stanford's artificial intelligence lab and head of the racing team. Stanford's "Stanley," a modified Volkswagen Toureg with sensors and radar mountings, crossed the finish line within eight hours and 14 minutes, under the 10 hour requirement, according to times posted on the DARPA race Web site.

Although an official winner will not be announced until all robots either finish or burn out, the DARPA Grand Challenge "has been conquered," according to a spokesman for the department.

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