Carnegie Mellon University's Tartan Racing Boss robot car took first place in the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007 and brought home the $2 million check.
The Boss robot car won against 11 autonomous vehicles on a course of suburban/urban roadways.
Boss, a robotized 2007 Chevy Tahoe, was the fastest of the competitors by a large margin. Boss averaged about 14mph over approximately 55 miles, finishing the course about 20 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher, Stanford. DARPA had declared Boss the top-rated robot in the event based on its performance on a series of qualifying runs at the former George Air Force Base in the week prior to the final event. Boss was slated to start first on Saturday morning, but radio frequency interference caused in part by a Jumbotron television monitor next to the start chute jammed GPS signals to Boss. The TV monitor was subsequently shut down, the GPS signals returned and Boss was ready to go.
The delay cost Boss the pole position it earned in qualifying runs and resulted in Boss being the 10th robot to start. But the robot performed impeccably despite occasionally being caught behind slower moving vehicles in the early going. With each of its three required missions, Boss steadily gained time on its rivals. Stanford's robot, which started second and about 20 minutes ahead of Boss, was the first to cross the finish line, but Boss beat Stanford's time by 20 minutes.
As the second place finisher, Stanford received $1 million. Virginia Tech's Victor Tango team finished third and received $500,000. The robots entered by teams from the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and MIT also finished the race, though Cornell and MIT both exceeded the six-hour time limit set by DARPA.
Tartan Racing includes Carnegie Mellon faculty, staff and students from the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute, as well as Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering. It received major support from General Motors, Caterpillar and Continental AG. Strengthening the team were engineers from GM, Caterpillar, Continental and Intel who were embedded with the team in Pittsburgh.
More details on the Tartan Racing site. Two years ago Stanford won the Darpa challenge.