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Grand Challenge 2004
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When and where will the next Grand Challenge be held?

DARPA has no plans to host an additional Grand Challenge at this time.

What is the National Qualification Event (NQE)?

The results of NQE determine the 20 teams that will advance to the 2005 Grand Challenge. At NQE, 43 teams will test their vehicles on a challenging 2 to 3 mile course that simulates the Grand Challenge 2005 route. Each vehicle is fully autonomous; navigating the route and determining its own path around obstacles using GPS, cameras, radar, lidar, and other sensors.

What is the Grand Challenge Event?

The teams selected to participate in the GCE will be announced on October 5 at NQE. At GCE, vehicles will attempt a challenging desert course that may be as long as 175 miles and may take as long as 10 hours to complete. Vehicles are launched to follow a pre-defined route through the desert to navigate their way to the finish line. Grandstands are provided for spectators at the start, and tracking information will be provided through the day.

How do I attend the NQE or GCE?

The events are open to the public, free of charge. More information can be found here. Spectator Information

How can I watch the Grand Challenge 2005 if I can't attend the NQE or GCE?

On October 8, DARPA will be able to follow the teams and download videos though the website. More information will be provided as the event draws closer.

What is the Grand Challenge route?

DARPA has chosen a route that will feature demanding desert terrain. The route will demonstrate the ability of the competing vehicles to move across terrain at realistic speeds and distances.

What are the rules for the 2005 Grand Challenge?

The rules for Grand Challenge 2005 can be found under the Rules tab.

Will there be another event if no vehicle completes the Challenge this year?

The purpose of the Grand Challenge is to accelerate development of autonomous vehicle technologies that will save lives on the battlefield. Even though there was no winner at DARPA Grand Challenge 2004, DARPA and the Department of Defense obtained a number of important ideas that could lead to promising developments. Given the widespread national interest in Grand Challenge 2005, there is a chance a team will win the $2 million prize. However, important research progress will be made regardless of the outcome. DARPA will provide more information about the next Grand Challenge after the 2005 Grand Challenge.

Can I volunteer to help with Grand Challenge 2005?

There are no volunteering opportunities at Grand Challenge 2005.

How can I find more information about the vehicles in the Grand Challenge?

DARPA will post technical papers for each team in the Grand Challenge after the event. Most teams also have a website link on their web page in the team info page. Technical papers for the 2004 Event are posted in the Historical Archive section under Team Resources.

What were the results of DARPA Grand Challenge 2004?

The most important results were the vital information gained and the lessons learned that will advance the development of autonomous ground vehicles.  At last year's event, fifteen teams qualified for the Grand Challenge, but none won the prize. Results are posted in the Historical Archive of the Grand Challenge website under Press Releases.

I am a company interested in sponsorship. How can I get involved?

The event is Government-sponsored and does not accept private sponsorship. The teams, on the other hand, are all interested in sponsors. Contact information and websites are listed on Team Information page.

Can I still enter the Grand Challenge 2005?

The application period closed in February 2005 and DARPA is no longer accepting entries.

Background Q&A

What is DARPA?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). The agency manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions.
DARPA's reputation for technical excellence stems from its determination to seek out the best solutions to problems through forward-looking investments in research and technologies.

What is the DARPA Grand Challenge?

Created in response to a Congressional and DoD mandate, DARPA Grand Challenge is a field test to accelerate research and development in autonomous ground vehicles that will help save American lives on the battlefield. The Grand Challenge brings together individuals and organizations from industry, the R&D community, government, the armed services, academia, students, backyard inventors, and automotive enthusiasts in the pursuit of a technological challenge

DARPA's mission is to leverage ingenuity and research to develop transformational technologies that give our armed forces a decisive edge. One promising area is that of autonomous ground vehicles which will save lives by performing many of the hazardous battlefield functions that currently place our troops in harm's way.

The first Grand Challenge was held in the Mojave Desert in March 2004. The second Grand Challenge will be held on October 8, 2005.

The team that develops a vehicle that finishes the designated route most quickly within a specified time limit will receive a cash award of $2 million.

What is the purpose of the Grand Challenge?

DARPA's mission is to create technologies for future application on the battlefield. In recent years, Congress and the Department of Defense have envisioned unmanned vehicles teamed with people to create efficient, integrated, agile and cost-effective forces that will lower the risk to American life.

The Grand Challenge is a bold effort to draw widespread attention to the technology issues associated with autonomous vehicles and to generate discontinuous breakthroughs in performance. The event is designed to attract and challenge the most capable and innovative companies, institutions, and entrepreneurs in America. Many of these organizations have never before been involved with defense work, and their participation is helping the men and women in our armed forces.


Last Updated: December 31, 2007

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