in this months issue of wired there was a story about the great challenge.
although the whole thing is a military-sponsored thing it chatched me as a truly geeky adventure.
it’s a race from los angeles to las vegas. but the race is not a vanilla-flavoured race, instead it’s for driverless robotic cars which have to find their way completely autonomous.
the official course will not be known until two hours prior to race time and will only released as gps way-points. then the teams have these two hours to fiddle with their equipment, and then are forced to watch how their creation competes without the slightest possibility of interaction, the machine has to do it on their own.
it has to decide where to drive through, it has to decide how fast it can drive and all the other bits and pieces which a machine needs to consider to get from A to B as fast as possible.
of all the portrayed teams (scroll down a bit to see them), the berkeley-team has by far the most impressive setup: their ghost rider is a motorcycle, while all the other contestants rely on at least four-wheeled chariots of fire.
go and download the movies on the ghost rider-page (although they’re HUGE) and if you’re interested in that kind of stuff go and read the article in wired (although it’s far better on big pages and glossy paper :-)
gentleman, start your engines!
update: according to engadget (or actually extremetech) the ghost rider is not designed to win the race but only designed to get some government contracts, it’s not fast enough to complete the race in ten hours. what a disappointment!