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nannyjo

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You may have also heard this on the news... I thought that it was pretty interesting.  $2,000,000, huh?  COOL!

 

(This is just one site I found with the story)

 

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/business/14484924.htm

 

Pentagon agency raises stakes in its test of driverless vehicles

The Associated Press
Associated Press file photo
This Volkswagen, modified by a team from Stanford University, drove itself over a desert to win the 2005 Grand Challenge robot race sponsored by the Pentagon. In 2007, the challenge will shift to an urban setting.

LOS ANGELES  Seven months after an unmanned Volkswagen successfully drove itself over the rugged desert, the Pentagon is sponsoring another challenge for self-driving vehicles.

The contest, to be held in November 2007, will test the vehicles' ability to carry out a simulated military supply mission in an urban setting in less than six hours.

The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency created the latest challenge to spur development of vehicles that could be used in the battlefield without any sort of remote control.

Participants will have to navigate a complex 60-mile test course in a yet-to-be-determined city filled with moving vehicles both manned and unmanned. The test course will be designed like a real city street where vehicles will have to make sharp turns, navigate intersections and avoid crashing into obstacles such as utility poles, trees and parked cars.

Equipped only with a computer brain and sensors, the participants will be graded on how well they can obey traffic laws, change lanes, merge with moving cars and pull into a parking lot.

The first vehicle that successfully completes the mission will win $2 million. Unlike previous defense research agency contests, in which the winner took the full prize, second-place finishers will get $500,000, while third place will receive $250,000.

Last October, the agency awarded $2 million to a driverless Volkswagen SUV, which beat out a field of 23 vehicles by traversing 132 miles of twisting desert and mountain terrain. While the vehicles had to drive on rough road and dodge man-made obstacles, they didn't have to drive in traffic.

"We believe the robotics community is ready to tackle vehicle operation inside city limits," said Tony Tether , the agency's director.

Stanford University computer scientist Sebastian Thrun, who won last year's race, said he was excited to see the agency take the challenge to the next level. Thrun said the artificial intelligence knowledge gained from the contest could also benefit society by pushing the development of "smart cars" that can self-navigate on highways and potentially reduce accidents.

DARPA can choose to fund certain teams to build their vehicles. In turn, the agency will receive some licensing rights to the technology that is developed. Or teams can raise money to build their vehicles. Either way, teams will face off in a semifinal match, and the field will be winnowed down to compete in the final round.


First glance

*In the next test, the first vehicle to successfully carry out a simulated military supply mission in an urban setting in less than six hours will win $2 million


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MACJR

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I notice that the vehicle is to be able to turn corners, parallel park, and avoid poles and other cars, and things like that... but nowhere did it say that the cars had to avoid hitting people... whether they are soldiers, enemy combatants, insurgents, or protesters… or even an innocent civilian in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Perhaps this was just a minor oversight in the contest objectives?

 

 

MACJR


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nannyjo

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MACJR

 

Perhaps this was just a minor oversight in the contest objectives?

  

MACJR

 

Ahh... isn't that sweet!  You are SUCH an optimist!  Always thinking the best of our Pentagon and government


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Reply with quote  #4 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyjo
Quote:
Originally Posted by MACJR

 

Perhaps this was just a minor oversight in the contest objectives?

  

MACJR

 

Ahh... isn't that sweet!  You are SUCH an optimist!  Always thinking the best of our Pentagon and government

Yeah, I guess I do get rather cynical at times.

 

The technology of cars that can drive themselves is a great advancement, and intellectually, I find that cool. The problem is that it is the military that is having these tools developed. I can think of many good uses for having military vehicles that can drive themselves. Many lives could be saved and that is a good thing.

 

The moral dilemma for me is that this technology can be used against any weaker power, no mater their cause, whether right or wrong, they could be stomped out without their issues ever being heard. Just the fact that no American lives will be lost with the use of self-driving tanks does not mean that their use will always be justified. When one side can automate their war machines then the other side may seem more as characters in a video game than as real people. Imagine how easy it would be to miss-use this technology when it becomes to feel like a game.

 

Automated cars and tanks could also be used to control riots or to keep civilian protesters in line. Again, this is not all bad, but it could also intimidate the population into not letting their voice be heard.

 

It all comes down to how automated vehicles will be used. If used right, they can help to keep the peace and our country free… without the loss of freedom. But if used wrong, automated driving machines could be used not only to dominate other countries and cultures, they could also be used for the repression of our freedoms and rights here at home.

 

It is always that fear of human nature at its worst that makes me speak out loud. My dreams of pleasure usually stay to myself. Perhaps I need to start speaking of my dreams of how things can go right a bit more often. 

 

 

MACJR


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