The Great Robot Race

A while ago, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), set up the Grand Challenge, a driverless robot race from LA to Las Vegas. Ever since there has been a lot of press coverage on it. Reading this extensive article in Wired, I was just wondering what impact such a challenge might have on autopilots and other marine electronics. How long before we have a Grand Challenge Sailing Around the World, unaided by any human?
“Just about everyone in the Grand Challenge, Darpa reports, is building a robot guided by some combination of radar, ladar (a laser used to measure distance), stereo vision, and GPS. Radar picks out man-made stuff, particularly if it moves, and big rocks, too. Lasers sweep left and right, scanning the route ahead, assessing the terrain every foot or so, and sending back a picture that on a display looks a bit like the world rendered in pinstripes. Stereo vision is nearsighted but provides sharp, 3-D images up close.”

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