[extropy-chat] grand challenge - good blog

Neil H. neuronexmachina at gmail.com
Mon Oct 10 00:23:47 UTC 2005

I was there!
 It was a fantastic event. Academic allegiances had me cheering for the
Caltech and CMU teams, but I'm still quite pleased at how Stanford's team
 I must say though that it was quite startling to see what happened with
Alice, the Caltech van. Basically, the course loops around past the starting
point 8 miles into the race, going past a viewing area. Basically, you have
the road, some concrete barriers, an incline, then journalists. I had
somehow sneaked into the journalist portion of the viewing area for a little
while, but then rejoined my friends in the spectator zone of the viewing
 Anyways, Alice came chugging along, and then suddenly stopped next to the
journalist zone. A few seconds later it veered to the right, went over the
barriers, and started barreling up the incline towards the journalists, who
were sitting there snapping photos of the behemoth charging towards them.
Fortunately Alice stopped herself before she actually reached the
journalists, but I suspect that we Techers are never going to hear the end
of this...
 It was also quite exciting watching the robots go over "Beer Bottle Pass,"
a 10 foot-wide path which had a mountain on one side and a 200 ft drop-off
on the other. It's a good thing that they had that near the -end- of the
race, so the robots which probably wouldn't plummeted to their demise were
knocked out earlier.
 On 10/8/05, Brian Atkins <brian at posthuman.com> wrote:
> "Stanford's Stanley has caught up to Red Team Too's H1ghlander and is
> attempting
> to pass and take the lead in the race. Both vehicles have been on the road
> for
> about 5 hours and are 97 miles into the course."
> <
> http://www.popsci.com/popsci/darpachallenge/1b7a1e7eef0d6010vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html
> >
> "Darpa's offer to bring busloads of journalists to a vantage point near
> the
> course's halfway mark was a generous one, but unfortunately, the
> execution's a
> little off. Flummoxed by the sameness of Nevada desert roads, our driver
> gets
> hopelessly lost and has to resort to borrowing a cell phone from a
> passenger in
> the front row to call for help. "Too bad we don't have autonomous drivers
> already," a German journalist sitting across from me cracks. Thankfully, a
> nearby Darpa checkpoint officer sets us straight, and we're soon pulling
> into a
> deserted lot staked out with dozens of tripods."
> "Just as we're leaving the site, we catch another glimpse of H1ghlander
> from the
> window of the bus, this time chugging up a steep, powdery incline. Halfway
> up
> the hill, it slides agonizingly backward for about 10 feet, then, inch by
> inch,
> crawls forward to the top, as if channeling the spirit of the Little
> Engine That
> Could. This time, I can't resist letting out a little cheer. These
> competitors
> may be robots, but they've got some serious guts."
> --
> Brian Atkins
> Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
> http://www.singinst.org/
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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