November 3, 2007 The DARPA Urban Challenge finished here this afternoon with an astounding six teams completing an array of missions over a demanding 60 mile urban course. The logical placegetters in the event were the first three to clear the course, quite some time ahead of the others - Junior (Stanford University's VW Passat), Boss (Carnegie Mellon's Chevrolet Tahoe) and Odin (Virginia Tech's Ford Escape hybrid). No winner has been named on the day, with DARPA due to announce the final placings tomorrow morning at 10am, though Tartan Racing’s Red Whittaker seemed very confident after the event after a completely clean run with no infringements or hiccups and a total time more than 20 minutes faster than the nearest competitor. The calm and confidence after the event did not reflect some of the issues the team experienced on the starting line
Finishing much later were Little Ben (University of Pennsylvania’s Toyota Prius), Talos (MIT’s Land Rover) and Skynet (Cornell University’s Chevy Tahoe), though only Little Ben is seen as any threat to the first three finishers when times and penalties are taken into account.
One of the favourites for a top three placing in the event, the gargantuan Team Oshkosh (formerly Team Terramax, one of the five finishers in the 2005 Grand Challenge), was one of the first to be eliminated, losing its way in the parking sequences and after freezing for some 20 minutes, it jumped a kerb and came to rest against a building.
Interestingly, all five of the finalists which did not make the finish line were eliminated in their first section of the day.