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Robotics Science

DARPA Semifinalists Selected 89

An anonymous reader writes "DARPA has selected thirty-six teams as Urban Challenge semifinalists to participate in the National Qualification Event. Both the webcast and press release can be found on the official site. Dr. Tony Tether reports that only 1 of the top 5 previous teams was rated in the top 5 of teams this year and 3 of the top 5 were not in the challenge finals last year. 'The semifinalists will compete in a final qualifying round at the site on October 26th and be whittled down to 20 teams. Those teams' vehicles will have to perform like cars with drivers to safely conduct a simulated battlefield supply mission on a 60-mile urban course, obeying California traffic laws while merging into traffic, navigating traffic circles and avoiding obstacles -- all in fewer than six hours. The team to successfully complete the mission with the fastest time wins.'"
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DARPA Semifinalists Selected

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  • by jdigriz ( 676802 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @08:10PM (#20177105)
    Please, cars and computers are cheap. It's the development programs that are costly. We use million dollar cruise missiles to take out handfuls of islamist that could as easily be killed by a couple of dollars worth of bullets.
  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @08:13PM (#20177129) Journal
    Science did fine for thousands of years before the creation of atom weapons, space bombers, and killer drones.

    While I do agree with your sentiment, I'm afraid that science and war have been hand in hand for the vast majority of history.
    "Archimedes has also been credited with improving the power and accuracy of the catapult, and with inventing the odometer during the First Punic War." veries_and_inventions []
    "In 1595-1598, Galileo devised and improved a Geometric and Military Compass suitable for use by gunners and surveyors. This expanded on earlier instruments designed by Niccolò Tartaglia and Guidobaldo del Monte. For gunners, it offered, in addition to a new and safer way of elevating cannons accurately, a way of quickly computing the charge of gunpowder for cannonballs of different sizes and materials. ilei#Physics []
    And of course we know well what happened to the inventions and insights of Noble and Einstein. Science and the waging of war feed each other back and forth. Militaries are always eager to use new technologies and scientists are usually eager to for the kind of resources and funding that militaries have access to.
  • by Moniker42 ( 1131485 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @09:18PM (#20177603)
    I also agree with the premise. The US government is the biggest offender in this perpetual arms race with the world and themselves - but like many military inventions this has a civil purpose. It's not a new bio-bomb that can kill people more effectively, but a car that can rescue people and supply troops. It should lead to some useful inventions that we could be seeing in the commercial market soon enough.

    My only worry with new military technology is that it will progress to the point where troops (American troops) will have no contact with the people they are liberating, killing or whatever - it could totally dehumanise war, making it all the easier for governments to fight senseless wars.
  • by Wingnut64 ( 446382 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @09:37PM (#20177759)
    I would also imagine it would be pretty demoralizing if people seeking glorious martyrdom only succeeded in killing robots.
  • by The One and Only ( 691315 ) * <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday August 10, 2007 @12:57AM (#20179011) Homepage

    Science only exists because the militaries of the world exist to do violence against the savages who would destroy it. Like it or not, things like science, technology, civilization, and society only exist because people are willing to protect their existence by means of physical force. Science owes its existence to the military, not the other way around. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but with 6 billion humans on the planet, even if all but one were committed pacifists, the only effect would be to make the last one king. He may have to club 10 pacifists to death before finding one to agree to serve him, but the end effect would be the same. And believe me, the probability of moral failure of the human being is far greater than 1 six-billionth.

    Disagree? Let's apply the scientific method. Take a given society, and remove the institutionalized violence within. All the militaries and cops and assorted men with guns, disarmed and assigned to other work. See how long science continues to exist.

  • And what if... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Enleth ( 947766 ) <> on Friday August 10, 2007 @01:34PM (#20185295) Homepage
    ...the Talibs put a "No entry" traffic sign on a supply route?

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.