Six teams cut in Urban Challenge qualifying round

Published 31 October 2007

In qualifying rounds in California, robotic vehicles are tested in self-navigation — no driver, no remote control — through a series of urban challenges; some teams don’t make it

Thinning the herd. Six teams have been cut from the National Qualifying Event (NQE) for Urban Challenge, DARPA’s autonomous car competition, after a series of crashes, wrong turns, and other mishaps. One example: Georgia Tech’s Sting Racing vehicle, a modified Porsche Cayenne, smacked into a concrete barrier while undergoing qualifying trials. Says DARPA’s official statement: “Based on performance in the NQE tests to date, data collected by the scorers and rulings by the judging team, DARPA has determined that the following teams are not ready to compete in the Final Event, and will no longer participate in the NQE.” In addition to Georgia Tech, the five other cars to be disqualified: Kokomo, Indiana-based Ody-Era, Princeton University’s PAVE, SciAutonics/Auburn Engineering; Team Berlin; and the University of Utah. This narrows the field from thirty-five teams in Victorville, California, to twenty-nine still in the running. At least nine of those left will be cut to bring the number of competitors to no more than twenty for the final race on 3 November 3.