The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it will hold a second Grand Challenge for Autonomous Robotic Ground Vehicles on October 8, 2005.Grand Challenge 2005 is designed to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicle technology that will help save lives on the battlefield. Anthony J. Tether, DARPA director, noted: "This event is a challenge for American ingenuity. It brings together individuals and organizations from the research and development community, industry, Government, the Armed Services, academia, professional societies, and from the ranks of students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts." DARPA simultaneously announced that a "Participants’ Conference" will be held on August 14, 2004 at the Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim,Calif. This informational conference is for participants, interested sponsors, and groups looking for others to help complete their teams.As with the inaugural event held in March 2004, autonomous vehicles will attempt to navigate a challenging course of varying terrain. The team that completes the Grand Challenge 2005 route within a specified time will receive a cash prize of US$2 million, an increase from the US$1 million prize offered at this year’s event .In the first DARPA Grand Challenge, held on a desert route from California to Nevada, 15 teams from a field of 106 applicants progressed to the final event. DARPA anticipates even greater participation in Grand Challenge 2005. The DARPA Grand Challenge web site - www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge – is the primary resource for data and information about Grand Challenge 2005. In the coming weeks and months, this site will contain news and updates pertaining to the event rules, application procedures, the qualification process, and other significant developments.
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