The Tartan Racing Team, based at Carnegie Mellon University, walked away with a $2 million prize on Sunday for coming in first in this year's Pentagon-sponsored robot race, held at a former Air Force base.
The team's robotic vehicle, "Boss," turned in the top performance as it navigated itself through the 60-mile (100-kilometer) Urban Challenge course at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville this weekend.
The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency took over the deserted base for the past week to offer an obstacle course tailor-made for city traffic. Boss, a modified Chevy Tahoe, competed along with 10 other robo-vehicles in Saturday's finals. The cars had to merge into moving traffic, navigate traffic circles, avoid obstacles and negotiate traffic jams without human intervention.
"This is really a fantastic accomplishment," Tony Tether, director of DARPA, said at Sunday's awards ceremony. "I watched these things driving, and I forgot after a while that there was nobody in there."
Last year's winning team, from Stanford University, finished second this year.