TodayApril 17, 2022

Jeff Walz, Director of University Relations, Google

2007 Google Darpa Urban Challenge

Jeff Walz, Director of University Relations, Google, talks about Google, and its relationship with sponsoring University-led projects. Google funds two teams for the 2007 Darpa Urban Challenge, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon, who coincidently, have a rivalry going.


The DARPA Grand Challenge is a prize competition for driverless cars, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research organization of the United States Department of Defense. Congress has authorized DARPA to award cash prizes to further DARPAs mission to sponsor revolutionary, high-payoff research that bridges the gap between fundamental discoveries and their use for national security.

DARPA has sponsored two competitions and announced a third using the “Grand Challenge” prize authority, all in the area of autonomous vehicles. DARPA is not restricted from conducting Grand Challenge competitions in other areas in the future.

The first Grand Challenge took place on March 13, 2004, on a desert course stretching from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada, but did not produce a finisher. At the second DARPA Grand Challenge, held on October 8, 2005, the Stanford Racing Team completed the 212.4 km (132-mile) course in just under 7 hours to win a US$2M prize.

Both the first and second DARPA Grand Challenge competitions advanced the technologies needed to create the first fully autonomous ground vehicles capable of completing a substantial off-road course within a limited time. The third event, The DARPA Urban Challenge, scheduled to take place on November 3, 2007, further advances vehicle requirements to include autonomous operation in a mock urban environment.

Google at the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge
Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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