This is a re-release of an episode that first ran in April of 2017.
In October 2005, 23 cars lined up in the desert for a 140 mile race. Not one of those cars had a driver. This was the DARPA grand challenge to see if anyone could build an autonomous vehicle capable of navigating a desert route (and if so, whose car could do it the fastest); the winning car, Stanley, now sits in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC as arguably the world's first real self-driving car. In this episode (part one of a two-parter), we'll revisit the DARPA grand challenge from 2005 and the rules and constraints of what it took for Stanley to win the competition. Next week, we'll do a deep dive into Stanley's control systems and overall operation and what the key systems were that allowed Stanley to win the race.