DARPA plans to winnow the 36 semifinalists to about 20 teams that will get a chance to compete Nov. 3. On that day, the robo-cars will be challenged to drive 60 miles over a city-like environment, complete with moving obstacles - presumably both cars and pedestrians - in less than six hours.
"The vehicles must perform as well as someone with a California driver's license," DARPA Director Anthony Tether said.
First place this time around: $2 million. The second and third prizes are $1 million and $500,000, respectively.
Tether announced the winners at DARPATech, where DARPA official Preston Marshall said present-day defense tech has finally outpaced what Gene Roddenberry imagined for Star Trek.
Most people think of 'Star Trek' as future technology. We strive to leave 'Star Trek' far behind.