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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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  • Course Prep? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @07:52PM (#20176937) Journal
    It'll be interesting to see what kind of modifications they make to the course, either to add signage and other course markings, or to degrade what already exists to make it more challenging. I was particularly interested in finding out that they'll be using the section of the base (now the Southern California Logistics Airport) that the Army's been using for MOUT (military operations in urban terrain) training.

    If the competitors aren't careful, there might be some new wrecks to add to scenario training...
  • by Serious Callers Only ( 1022605 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:52AM (#20182073)

    Science only exists because the militaries of the world exist to do violence against the savages who would destroy it.

    The death of Archimedes, among many other scientists during warfare, gives the lie to your words :

    Many brutalities were committed in hot blood and the greed of gain, and it is on record that Archimedes, while intent upon figures which he had traced in the dust, and regardless of the hideous uproar of an army let loose to ravage and despoil a captured city, was killed by a soldier who did not know who he was. - Livy

    Military might does not exist to defend science or civilisation, or any of the other things which we like to tell ourselves; far from it. It is used most often (including in our time) to brutalise others into submission and fealty, often at the cost of all of these values we pretend to hold dear. It's entirely unconnected to the existence of science or civil society, which is dependent on a stable wealthy society, not a warlike one - note that a strong military is not necessarily linked to a peaceful society or good science. Further to that, the use of force (or the threat of it) within civil society is not necessarily related to the use of force between nations in wars, so your argument of removing all military and police is really tilting at windmills.

    This meme of virtue and physical force nurturing a delicate civilisation has been with us since the Romans, and it was a lie then, as it is now.

    It's sad that many of our best endeavours have been linked to war (Archimedes for example also designed anti-siege equipment), but it doesn't mean that war produces the best of our science, or is the best use of our time. e.g. things like the atom bomb and nuclear power are often used as an example of advances given by warfare, however the groundwork for that was laid long before the second world war broke out, in efforts unrelated to warfare, by people like Rutherford and Bohr. Radar was discovered in 1904, etc, etc. If we spent half the time and money (not all but half say) we do killing each other on perfecting science and technology like this for civilian use, we would be a lot further on. That's a choice the US is confronted with today, and I don't believe they've chosen the balance wisely.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!