Twenty-three bizarre looking vehicles line up at the starting gate of the DARPA Grand Challenge with one thing in common: there s nobody behind the wheel. Sponsored by the Pentagon s research agency this race for robotic driverless vehicles has a $2 million prize. Its ultimate goal is to gather new ideas for the future of unmanned warfare.With names like Terramax Highlander Ghostrider and Stanley these vehicles are armed with cutting-edge technology including artificial intelligence laser-guided vision GPS navigation and 3-D mapping systems.
But can some of the world s most advanced robots overcome a grueling 130-mile stretch of Nevada’s scorching desert terrain?NOVA follows the competing engineering teams as they deal with the glitches system crashes and tight deadlines that threaten to derail them at every turn. NOVA s cameras capture the race s technical challenges hilarious pitfalls and a final twist as a surprise contender comes up from behind to steal the race