Urban Challenge seminfinalists announced

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has announced the 36 semifinalist teams that will advance in DARPA's autonomous vehicle Urban Challenge.

The 36 teams chosen this week will compete in DARPA's Urban Challenge National Qualification Event scheduled to take place October 26-31. DARPA also announced its selection of the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., as the location for the qualifying event, as well as the contest's one-day final showdown on Nov. 3. The former base has been the site of urban training operations by the military and will be closed until the National Qualification Event begins.

The performance of the 36 semifinalist teams' vehicles during the National Qualification Event will determine the 20 vehicles will take place in the one-day Urban Challenge event. Vehicles competing in the qualifying round and the final competition must operate completely autonomously and observe all California traffic laws while completing complex maneuvers such as merging into traffic, negotiating traffic circles and steering clear of moving obstacles.

The top three vehicles finishing the 60-mile course in the final Urban Challenge event within six hours will win cash prizes of $2 million for first place, $1 million for second place and $500,000 for third place.

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