The $3.5 million DARPA Urban Challenge semifinals are underway, and in these qualifying rounds the robot cars are all vying for the right to participate in the actual race on November 3. On this qualifying course, you can see Axion Racing's vehicle, "Spirit," making a pretty dumb move, taking a left turn directly into one of the human-driven Ford Taurus chase cars. No, robot SUV, the idea is to avoid those stunt car is driven by the humans, not attack them. There were a couple of another small accidents with another vehicle yesterday, one from Georgia Tech, which was having a bit of trouble dealing with the protective guard rails set up in the parking lot course. On the other hand, a robot Chevy Tahoe built by Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing seems to be doing quite well in the proceedings thus far. [TG Daily, via Danger Room]
UPDATE: Whoops, we almost forgot, Axion sent along a close-up pic of the Spirit robot vehicle, but look out, there are a couple of twins showing off their backsides as they demonstrate the vehicle, so it's almost NSFW. We tried to airbrush/photoshop out the naughty parts for readers working in churches and preschools, to no avail.
Of course, this is the vehicle before that little mishap, so imagine it with a dent or two and that'll bring you up to date. What vehicle, you say?